Tuesday, June 29, 2010

God, Schmod

I am blogging about this for the sole purpose of ranting without doing what I want to do, which is hit reply all to a family email. You might be thinking, "But doesn't your family read your blog?" You'd be surprised. Some of them do. Others are less supportive. I'm not certain my sister has ever read it. Anyway, if they get offended by something I write here, that's just too bad for them because it is my blog for my thoughts, whereas if I emailed it to them, it would be rude of me, you see.

So here's the deal. My grandpa lives alone in Utah. He is 94, very soon to turn 95, and has overall been doing pretty fabulous in these later years, but recently been declining physically and causing us all much concern. All of us in the next two generations send gang emails to one another including when we visit him, reporting on what we did while there in his town (from changing light bulbs to cooking him meals to taking him to a doctor's appointment) and in this past year the conversation about him needing to possibly move out of his house into assisted living has really been stepped up into high gear.

But my grandfather doesn't want to move into a random assisted living apartment, nor does he want to leave his Utah home nestled at the base of the beautiful Wasatch Front mountains, down the street from the cemetery where my grandma's grave is located, just to move to a town in Arizona or California where my mom/sister/uncle/cousins happen to live their lives. I totally understand this. Most of us can. So we have been trying to figure out what he needs in order to stay. Basically, he needs assistance, but he has been resistant to assistance, such as having a nurse or home aide or help with bathing or any of that. Part of it is not wanting to be a burden, part is probably a bit of denial, the usual. Anyway, here's my point.

This past week, a bunch of my family were there and accompanied him to his doctor and were extremely concerned about his physical state, including among other things dehydration and not sleeping enough and weakness and needing assistance. As my uncle and his wife (a professional nurse) worked on the situation, they happened to call (regarding another matter) and speak with one of our many relatives in that Utah town, a cousin's daughter, and it turned out her son-in-law just happened to finish nursing school and could use a job between now and when he is licensed in August. Long story short (way too late!) he has been hired to help as a kind of personal assistant, who can do all the things that will greatly assist my grandpa on a daily basis. And he's part of the extended family, as opposed to a stranger or company-provided nurse, so Grandpa's pleased and we're all greatly relieved and basically it's just a big ol' win-win situation for everybody. So you know what happens now?

The phone call to the cousin's daughter? Was "inspired." (FYI, for those unfamiliar with the Mormon connotation of that word, it doesn't mean "out of nowhere.")
My sister? "Wonders what Grandma thinks of all this." (Yes, been-dead-for-13-years Grandma.)
Those were the first hints. But a midday email today really just laid it out there. "God has answered [Grandpa's] prayers and our prayers by sending someone to help," is the word from my uncle and aunt.

I suspect there are two kinds of people reading this blog. Those who understand exactly why those statements make my skin crawl and those who agree with the statements. On second thought, maybe there's only one kind of people reading my blog and the latter have long since abandoned ship. Who knows? Here's what I know:

We --the 2nd and 3rd generations -- have all been working to problem-solve. Some of us have sacrificed great amounts of time and other things to do so. Some of us (like me!) have sounded like a broken record for nearly two years about doing more to put the word out to our cousins and extended family in that town about what Grandpa needs. I for one am totally stoked that we could tap into things like a cousin's son-in-law who lives two blocks away and just finished nursing school and needs a job for the next couple months. "Call it chance or call it fate," sings Mary-Chapin Carpenter, "either one is cause to celebrate..." But no - it's all because God has answered our prayers. Gaaaaaahhhhhh.

What does that mean, then? If my family had prayed harder last spring, the relative would have finished nursing school sooner? If they had waited to pray, another cousin would finish nursing school instead? (Actually, that part might be true. There are lots of cousins to go around in Utah families.) That Grandpa can somehow "deserve" or "not deserve" help based on how spiritual everyone is about it? That kind of thinking sickens me. Does it also mean that somehow during the past two years we just weren't good enough? I could go on. I'll stop now.

And I will send a shiny happy family email about the new hired assistant cousin, but I will not be joining the chorus of praise for some capricious God who has apparently decided we're worthy of a solution to our problem.

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