Today was the day I was going to have a good old moan. I started writing the post a few days ago, but it had grown to mammoth proportions. I considered holding onto it, releasing it in several parts to give it its full force. I played around with the wording, honed the text and generally wallowed in my little pity-fest. Because, you know, I have a husband who adores me, a beautiful house, a job I enjoy, a large and loving extended family, some wonderful friends, and this week I got another promotion - but that doesn't mean I can't find something to grumble about.
The one thing I never changed about the form of this post is that it ended with a request for prayers. For me. For something I want and can't have.
Anyone who doubts the existence of God should try being me for a few days. Ever since I started writing that post, He's been giving me the most crashing and unsubtle signs you could ever imagine that I should stop whinging and count my blessings.
The thing that finally made me delete my huge long draft post was receiving an e-mail from an old friend this afternoon.
This friend had an abusive husband, and ended up fleeing in the middle of the night with nothing but her small son and the clothes they stood up in. She rebuilt her life in another country, settled her son in a school where he had to learn a new language, and worked on providing him with love and stability. He began to thrive, and threw himself enthusiastically into an array of after school activities with an ever-growing circle of friends.
Her e-mail today told me that her mother died very suddenly a couple of weeks ago. Although they lived a continent apart, she described her mother as her best friend. They used to speak at least twice a day, and there was no sign that her mother was ill.
Her father, on the other hand, suffered brain damage during an illness a couple of years ago. As well as this damage, he is thought to be in the early stages of Alzheimer's. My friend has decided that she must cross continents once again to go and look after her father. She has to uproot her son again, and he will have to get used to another school system, another set of friends, and another language.
She has no idea how much longer her father will live, but she does know that he is unable to appreciate what she will be doing for him, and that he will be increasingly difficult, grumpy and demanding. She goes willingly, because she loves her father, but the man she'll be looking after is a shadow of her real father, the shell of his body carrying none of what made him the loving and intelligent man he once was.
So if you can spare a thought, please pray for my friend, that she has the strength to cope with this latest upheaval in her life, the wisdom to help her son adapt yet again to his new circumstances, and the patience to deal lovingly with her father.