He Came Along


Today, Dennis insisted on going with me to attend the day’s work. Yesterday our 16 foot container from PackRat came early in the morning. I worked unloading it into Kevin’s basement from 10 am until 7 pm. Julie came to help around 3 pm and Kevin came to help with the last heavier pieces of furniture. We were satisfied just to get it all into the basement. No organization whatsoever.

So, today the work was to look over everything, organize into as small a space as possible, and identify anything we had been wanting with us in Wisconsin – all things I thought would be easier if I were doing them myself. But it was okay. He got ready to go quickly and was prepared to tough it out.

One of our furniture items was his mother’s Lazy Boy recliner. I cleared everything off it and made it available to him. For a while he poked around looking at and asking questions about furniture he didn’t remember. I admit, for a man it could be hard to recognize something that’s not in its usual place in your house. When he finally sat in the recliner he remembered how much he liked it – how it didn’t make his head bend too far forward, hard arms at just the right height, went back easily when he wanted to recline. I decided we would take it back to Wisconsin. (You can’t believe all the different things that can be wrong about a chair until you’ve been around Dennis.)

I suggested he look through a trunk labeled “Dennis, memorabilia”. He began to read the top layers of papers and found some interesting documents he thought he had never seen – perhaps given to him after his mother’s funeral when he didn’t have time to go through them. There were things his mother had written and copies of her will. There was the agreement signing the family farm over to his nephew. Of course, all these brought tears and choked him up so he could hardly speak.

But the worst/best, depending on how you looked at it, was a typed out sermon that he may or may not have actually given. He didn’t remember giving it and it was so long that he couldn’t imagine having been given time to deliver it either. It was basically the story of his life, particularly his spiritual development and his time in the Worldwide Church of God. Reading his decisions made years ago, I heard him say things like “I was so wrong back then.” And “I still have questions about that.” He wrote about his relationships with significant people in his life. He cried as he read it out loud to me as I worked. He was such an emotional mess I had to go hunting for some tissue for his eyes and nose. He was pretty exhausted when he finished.

The funny thing is that he didn’t mention wanting the chest to go back to Wisconsin with us. He read only a few things in the top layer. When it was time to leave, I closed it up and stacked it with our other things in storage. It stays there in Kevin’s basement. He’s had a persistent train of thought that significant family items should be given to his brother or to his nephews, almost like he’s forgotten that he has daughters who are going to want to know about his side of the family. He talked with his brother about some coins he wanted to give him, but his brother didn’t want them. That’s why they had ended up with Dennis in the first place. I’m pretty sure he wants his girls to make decisions about those things and I’m going to make sure that is what happens.

Loading the truck with the chair and a few other precious things was challenging, especially trying to get my new keyboard in the cab with us where it would be cooler. Dennis had all kinds of suggestions and he did try to help. We struggled, loaded and reloaded a couple of times and I finally called it quits, with the keyboard sticking out the open window of the back seat. We strapped ourselves in, only to discover that the keys were nowhere to be found. Mind you, it’s about 90 degrees in the shade and we are very tired.

I unloaded everything in the back seat one more time, asking God for help, as I almost always do for everything I lose. I was not seeing them and about to check myself into a mental facility when Dennis, the person who never finds anything, found the keys. He happened to see my purse on the floor on his side of the cab and looked in a pocket that I had not searched, and seldom used. They were there.

How wonderful to be used by God in a very unaccustomed role. We do what we can, but it is God who chooses us and equips us for what is needed. It made a nice resolution to a very frustrating time.


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