Sunday, April 30, 2006

"Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore, we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true, or beautiful, or good, makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore, we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, could be accomplished alone; therefore, we must be saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our own standpoint; therefore, we must be saved by the final form of love, which is forgiveness." Reinhold Niebuhr

I heard this quote on a Speaking of Faith program this morning quoted by Martin Marty. I went back to the 12/09/2004 program about fundamentalism and listened again to it. Since the distinction was drawn in the program I listened to yesterday on Pentecostalism, I thought maybe I should refresh my memory on exactly what it is that separates the two. The Niebuhr quote was one of those that resonates with my heart and will go into my journal of wise sayings.

I took downtime in my pajamas this morning rather than go to church. Caring for Mother is not very demanding physically, but I feel exhausted whenever I leave her. It's emotionally demanding, caring for someone who didn't care much for me. She's one of the least nurturing people I've ever known. Daddy's last request was that we "take care of your mother." Bless his heart, he cared so much more for her than she did for him. And because he cared, I care. If I didn't feel some resentment for her neglect, I probably would not be so tired when I leave her.

What is it about the "only child" that makes them so hard to love? In Mike's and Mother's cases, they could have greatly benefitted from the civilizing effect of siblings. It's not their fault they didn't get that, and that they never outgrew being the center of their significant others' attention. Neither seems to understand the principles of sharing or reciprocating. To consider another's wants and needs seems totally foreign to them. It makes caring for them when they're incapcitated doubly hard. Betsy goes through a lot of that with Richard, too.

Betsy helped Mother with lunch again today and I'm going in later. She had visitors yesterday, a middle-aged couple. No note was left or anything, so I put out a sheet for people to sign, so we could acknowledge their concern. I hate not knowing who's been there. She slept most of the time we were there, but did wake up long enough to eat about half her supper. When she refused a bite of lemon meringue pie, I knew she was done.

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