A personal note: when the journey gets hard

Jesus: “I leave you peace. It is my own peace I give you. I give you peace in a different way than the world does. So don’t be troubled. Don’t be afraid.”  – John 14:27

IMG_2508Today I’m going to write a little about a difficult subject. Not my usual fare, but it’s unavoidably front and center now so I can’t really blog from my heart without at least a small reference.

I’m talking about aging, and the challenges that come when parents need help but it’s not exactly the kind of help anyone is comfortable with from either end of the equation.

Of course, that’s why we have my parents’ house exactly next door, so that if anyone needs anything, well there we are. In consequence I do a little cooking, I run errands, and I provide taxi service when necessary. Then, once in a while, when dad can’t quite get to a place where he remembers where he is, and what needs to be done, or how to do it, the definition of help needs to broaden some, and then it’s not so straightforward.

Today has been another one of those days, and I have to write about it, just to help me process if nothing else.

Leaking around the eyes:

Going forward, I’m more afraid of my emotions than anything else. Today I came home, I made a cup of tea (of course), and I decided to play my guitar to soothe my soul. That’s all very well, in theory, but then I noticed I’d moved through a few songs without thinking and now I was playing the chords to one of my favorite James Taylor songs, “Shower the People.”

Shower the people you love with love, show them the way that you feel.
Things are gonna work out fine if you only will, just
shower the people you love with love, show them the way you feel.
Things are gonna be much better if you only will.

I play with a lot of heart – chords that speak as well as sing – it’s how I’ve always handled the guitar, but this time I accessed a little too much heart and I found myself leaking around the eyes. Tears? Really? Give me a break.

But this is where we are at the moment, and I understand I’m far from alone in this. Here’s the thing, I know that God is with us as a very real presence, and I have absolute confidence that faith is no incidental sideshow in this extremely difficult leg of the journey.

Great is God’s faithfulness; such blessed assurance; what a friend we have in Jesus.


The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:22-23


life relationships Uncategorized

derekmaul View All →

Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

11 Comments Leave a comment

  1. It is hard when the parents we have loved and respected all of our lives start becoming the “least of these”. I feel your pain brother Derek. Hang in there. God will give you the grace to walk this path and love dad through it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh, Derek, I’m so sorry – and also SO sympathetic having seen my parents through decline and final illness. My mom became a charming child, but my dad got difficult, irrational, and paranoid as dementia deepened. He was particularly mean to my sister who lived closest and therefore was more involved with their day-to-day care. Several incidents caused us to install caregivers whom he did not want in his apartment, treated badly, and was sure were stealing from him. (They weren’t.) One of the most helpful things anyone said to me came from my pastor at the time. I was lamenting the fact that my parents needed more help than my dad found acceptable. I expressed my distress that he didn’t trust us, and would never understand why we were “doing this to him.” My pastor told me about having to move her parents to an assisted living facility and said they didn’t understand and were angry and distraught even though it was clear to everyone else that they simply could not function independently any longer. She said,”They never did understand while they were there, but I’m convinced that five minutes after they were in heaven they understood and forgave.” I clung to that idea – five minutes into heaven it was all understood and healed. I know your situation is not the same, so maybe this doesn’t help you, but there are parallels for all of us who care for aging parents and I, too, have come to believe that there is hope and healing beyond the distress and struggle. And God is with us every step.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Just leaving my mom and she is walking the tough road home. I have cried the entire way to the airport, frustrated by circumstances and so incredibly heartbroken to lose someone who is so incredibly important. I am grateful for your words and the knowledge that I we have showered each other with love! She will remember more in heaven!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I can certainly relate to your situation Derek. Knowing God
    was with me and my mom and whole family comforted me greatly. Stepping into WFPC where my friends enveloped me with hugs and words of encouragement also was a huge source of comfort. I’ve got a hug ready for you any time you need it.

    Liked by 1 person

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