Sunday, June 19, 2011

Just Turnaround!

 Just submit....
There's a longing in the heart of Dementia patients to go home.  Whatever memories, ever so few, draw them back to home.  Not necessarily a real house, but a place in the heart where love once bloomed and children were born and nurtured.  Whether it was their childhood home, or the first house that became a home, it is a powerful longing.

Mother’s longing to "go home" was getting worse and worse. She would stand at the front door and try to leave.  She would wave at my neighbor across the street and bang on the widow panel on the side of the front door and holler very loudly, “Help! Help! Help!" ..."Somebody please help me.... I want to go home!”  If ONLY she had Dorothy’s ruby red shoes!  She would be able to click her heels twice and say, “There’s no place like home.” She could be home before dinner  But no home.  

Oh well....One night (recently), I'd had it.  I said to myself, “That's it... she’s going home tonight!"  She was turning the doorknob and the little bell kept ringing and ringing. (I have a bell on the doorknob to let me know if she’s trying to escape.  I also have a security system that chirps when the door opens.)

I  took her by the hand and said, “Tonight you're going home.”  I got her walker, opened the garage door, and helped her down the driveway and into the street.

Let me explain....  There’s only one street in our subdivision and it was after dark with street lights, so I didn’t think it was extremely dangerous.

She was walking fast....looking left and right.  She was intent on going home.  To keep up with her, I had to maintain a quick pace.  I had no idea she could walk so fast!

I asked her if she knew where she was going.....“Yes!” 


“What does the house look like?”    

“It’s got two rockers on the front porch.” (Hmm, that sounds familiar.)

I pointed and exclaimed, “There’s a house with two rockers on the front porch!”

“Nope, that’s not it....  That house doesn’t have a TREE in the front yard.” (Wow, she remembered the tree.) 

She stopped to look at one house and said, 'I think this is where I live.'.... 

 “No, I know the people who live there.....  Let’s turn around and go in another direction and see if we can find it." 

“No. I’m not turning around!"  I couldn't believe I had to wait for her to decide.  Nevertheless, I waited for her to make up her mind and turn around.  

As I’m telling this story, I’m reminded of a great illustration that I observed while I was visiting my little granddaughter in AZ....(Indulge me for a moment)......

My Granddaughter is a Hunter/Jumper and I was invited to come out to the stables and watch her riding lesson.  It’s always fun (unless it’s 100 degrees).  But at 7:00 p.m. it cools down to 89 degrees with a nice warm breeze.

I watched Katie chain her horse to the grooming area. She put on the blanket, the saddle, and bridle and led her horse out to the arena where she was to practice jumping.  But apparently, her horse had no intentions of jumping.  So Katie calmly got off the horse, led her to the turnaround, closed the gate, and stood in the middle with a whip.  At this point, I’m thinking, "What’s going on?"...

The trainer explained, "The horse has not submitted to Katie....Until that happens, the horse cannot be trained to do the proper jumps."...  Then I asked about the whip.  “The whip represents who is in control....she doesn’t hit the horse ...only the ground.”

"What will happen?"

“Eventually the horse will stop running, lower her head to Katie, and they can get on with the jumps."

Picture this.  Katie, age 10, is in the middle of this turn out.  The horse is galloping in a wild fury.... going round and round, faster and faster in a huge cloud of dust.  As the horse went flying around, the dust was getting all over me.  Katie was calmly standing in a cloud of dust!  Then the horse abruptly turned around and went faster and faster in the other direction kicking and bucking! All I could think was, "What if the horse decides to run right in to Katie?"....It could be dangerous!  But Katie stood firm;  cracked the whip on the dirt a few times... and remained calm and steadfast...waiting for the horse to surrender.

This went on for 15 minutes and I was beginning to wonder when this "revelation" might take place. I asked the trainer, "How long is this going to take?"....  She said, “It all depends on the horse.”

“What if a horse never submits?”,  I asked.

She said, “Then the horse can never be trained..... the horse has to submit to it's rider, and when a horse is fully trained, all you have to do is slap your leg and his mind goes right back to the turnaround."...

Eventually, it happened.  It brought tears to my eyes.  The horse DID stop running and slowly walked over to Katie and lowered her head.   She reached up and hugged her (the horse's name is Jasmine).  They walked out together.  She climbed on Jasmine, and they went through their jumping course like champions.

When the work was over, Katie took off the bridle, saddle, and blanket...put Jasmine into the stall, and surprisingly, her horse DID NOT want her to leave! Katie hugged her over and over...Her horse was still watching her when we left.  They'd obviously made some type of deep connection in the turnaround.

I don’t know about you, but I could relate to the "turnaround".  There have been times in my life that I have been in the "turnaround".  When I first came to Christ for salvation...When I submitted my will in every area of my life...When I made the decision to get out of the boat, and trust Christ with my finances.  How about you?  Can you relate to the "turnaround"?  What a picture.  Christ has wonderful things planned for us in our life that we can’t even imagine..But He has to take us to the "turnaround", because we must be in total submission to His will before we can go a step further.

Now back to my story.  My mother finally agreed to "turn around" ...she was focused on finding her way home.  She looked left.  She looked right. She was determined to go home.  We were now approaching our house.  She stopped and said, “There’s a house with two rockers on the front porch.”...“It has a tree in the yard!!!!” 

“I think you’re right!”  

“That’s my house!”  She turned the walker (with a little help), and walked up the driveway...into the house that we had left only 15 minutes earlier. 

She walked in the door and said," Praise God, I’m Home!”.  She noticed her little bear sitting on the stairs. (It’s been sitting there for over a year...By the way the bear sings, “It’s a wonderful life.”)  I pushed the button and the bear started singing.  I was almost expecting to hear the little birds singing.  Mother was praising God that she'd found her house. She called my sister to tell her the good news and we all rejoiced.   

Since that day, she occasionally asks, “Can I go home?”  And then she says, “Oh yeah, we are home!”

The broken record was resolved and she was able to get past the anxiety and have a peaceful night’s rest. Remember Caregivers, don’t argue, don’t get upset, and don’t go to the "turnaround".  Just take a little walk in the right direction, and you’ll feel better in the morning.
“Be anxious for nothing…” Philippians 4:6

Are you in the "turnaround"?  Are YOU out of control?  Give up.  Submit to God.  He has a great plan for you.  But he my precious little granddaughter....will patiently wait for you.  He will stand in the middle of your life...and wait for you to lower your head...and pray.....And tonight...I will patiently pray for you (whoever you are)......
 My granddaughter....jumping her horse, Jasmine.

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