Notes from Jan

Safety First?

February 19, 2016

Last Sunday’s frigid air shocked more than folks venturing out to retrieve the morning newspaper.  Caught between the ocean’s warmer temperature and the arctic air shooting down from Canada, the surface of the sea shivered, misting the air.  The usual boundaries of the Atlantic and beach blurred, as if hiding  behind a scrim, awaiting God’s light to warm and reveal the familiar.   Squinting to see even a hint of beach, I hunted waves which showed like thin white lines, reluctant to rise from their warm beds.

Speaking of frozen, one off-the-cuff diagnosis from a friend suggested that my recent bout with dangling right arm was from a frozen shoulder, not a torn rotator cuff.  It felt stiff, reluctant to rise, lift, swing or twist. But while the temperature outside plummeted, my shoulder’s been thawing out, leaving me with more familiar usage of a much needed part of my body. Still balking at a preliminary diagnosis of “profound weakness.” Always thought Norwegian and weakness mixed like oil and water.  Not well. No results from the MRI. Find out on Monday which leaves me doing that which I do not do well, dangle.  The challenge to be a patient patient; wait and seewatch and pray, trust and obey.

The other day I  listened to a PBS news editorial and heard concerns about the downward trend of trust. The presenter spoke of a growing lack of trust in government, religion, education, banks, medicine and the media, to name some. Storms of another sort.

These are the storms that nibble at the edges of my comfort zone, the kind that produce power outages in the mind and heart from loss of trust, faith, hope or love. I miss Jud’s calm and strong presence to talk over the news, medical options and  these non-weather related storms; the ones that sweep in unexpectedly, blur the boundaries, distort or obliterate the familiar.

Last week I missed my friend’s birthday breakfast, just to be safe.  A snow storm, fresh brewing, threatened the return trip more than the beginning.  My thoughtful friend, encouraged me to stay home and I did but it continues to disturb my thoughts on aging.  Is this the beginning of a pattern? A blueprint for growing older? Safety first? I don’t want to live life timidly, hiding behind profound weakness, too afraid of making a wrong move physically, mentally or spiritually.

Daily I reach for wisdom from the Bible, like this familiar reminder from Proverbs 3:5. “TRUST in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”

And from Matthew 6 in The Message,” Look at the birds, free and unfettered….careless in the care of God.(free of worry).

Sometimes one needs poetry, as well,  to heal rips not visible on an MRI.

“And consider, always, every day, the determination of the grass to grow despite the unending obstacles.” from Evidence by Mary Oliver

Safety’s  so overrated.





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  • Reply susan February 19, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    Mary Oliver always finds a way to say so much that is in my heart, but that I find hard to express. Thanks for sharing.
    Have you read “Being Mortal?” Yes, safety is WAY overrated.
    I am sorry about your arm. I’ve had 2 frozen shoulders and they both went away with a lot of hard work in physical therapy.
    You certainly are NOT weak! Love to you and “ours.” see you soon!

  • Reply Nancy Mering February 19, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    Jan, you’ve touched on an area I think is SO important for Christian believers: Trusting in the Lord. We know we should and can. We read, talk, and even sing about it routinely. We want to trust the Lord and usually think we do. But in the moment-by-moment fray of disappointment and confusion, etc., we can be just as fearful and angry and self-protective as those who don’t know the Lord as fully trust-worthy. The ” . . . lean not unto your own understanding . . .” part of Prov 3:5 maybe isn’t emphasized enough. It can be so hard to give up control and, again, the self-protectiveness . . . Thank you for your work to help us to remember the Lord’s loving presence and sovereignty in our lives . . .

  • Reply Raquel February 20, 2016 at 8:03 pm

    Dearest MamaJan,

    THANK YOU! You are such a blessing for all of us! I And so you shall always grow and flourish in spite of all the obstacles, like the grass. It is God who keeps us, it is He who holds us in the palm of His hand. I think that the amazing thing about Proverbs 3:5 is that it addresses both; our hearts and our mind/understanding. He wants ALL our trust. Thank you Lord for we can rely on you, no matter what.
    We love you and pray for you. We trust that all will be well with the results of the MRI. God is faithful! Love and hugs, R.

  • Reply Wendy Lane February 23, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    Did you get the results of your MRI yesterday?? <3 <3 <3

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