This is my fall picture for the one or two devoted readers I have out there in Blog World. Yet, if I am completely honest, this picture is for me. Sorry, but hey, honesty is the best policy right? You know the scene in Mary Poppins where they can jump into the chalk drawings and make it a reality? Well, I wish I could jump into this picture, climb the fence, sit on the rail, feel the breeze against my face, and just think. It seems picturesque (pun intended).
So, here we are at another Halloween. I personally love Halloween and always have. Yet, once again, if I am completely honest, the past two Halloweens have been more of an emotional roller-coaster for me. I posted a few weeks ago about everything happening for a reason and there being a time and season for everything. Well the In-Between of Two Halloweens has made me realize this even more.
Last Halloween, I was at home for the weekend and thought I would get to spend my night passing out candy to all of the adorable trick-or-treaters in my neighborhood, and I was SO excited about this. (I am a grandmother trapped in a 19-year-old body I know, I know.) Yet, soon after the first few trick-or-treaters, my dad got a call from the hospital about my grandmother, and the doctors told them they needed to come as soon as possible. I tried not to worry, but is this ever a comforting call? So, I kept passing out candy and smiling as my mom and dad left, but not much time had passed before they were calling my sister and me and telling us we needed to come too. I was a nervous wreck the entire way to the hospital and was not ready for what I would come face-to-face with when I got there. I can still picture waiting outside the room and my heart in complete turmoil. I can still picture walking into the room, and tears instantly filling my eyes. My goofy grandmother, who played soccer with me in the halls as a kid, helped me successfully knock a few picture frames off the wall, and caused me to bend over laughing when all 4'11" would come sprinting at me trying to kick the ball and completely miss, now looked so lifeless in the hospital bed. I tried to hold her hand, but that sent the faucets full blast. I had to leave the room and spent the rest of the night crying on my best friend's shoulder in the waiting room. I was weak. It was a time of weakness.
Now, let's fast-forward to today, this Halloween. Once again, I was visiting someone who had my heart in his hands. Last Monday, I walked into Mr. Miller's hospital room, and yet again, the tears came rushing forward. The once bright-eyed 83-year-old man that beat me mercilessly in dominoes every single week, constantly joked about finding out my ring size, and told me that 83 and 19 weren't that far apart, looked so lifeless and tired. But this time was different. I didn't have my family with me. I didn't have my best friend's shoulder, and unlike my grandmother, Mr. Miller was staring back at me watching me. I knew I couldn't cry because that would just upset him even more. As I tried to look away and wipe a mischievous tear, I saw another plaque on the hospital wall (if you read my post about the other hospital visit you know what I am referring to). Once again, this plaque perfectly applied to my current situation:
"Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might."- Ephesians 6:10
My heart stopped again. I wanted to cry harder, but of course this was not an option. I wanted to say, "Be strong? God I cannot be strong right now. It's impossible." This wasn't an option either. So with His encouragement again, I stopped the tears and held Mr. Miller's hand and was strong when I thought I couldn't be. Today, on Halloween, I went to see him again, and my sweet friend looked so weak again. Again, I felt the tears coming. Be strong. So I sat on Mr. Miller's bed and did the unthinkable- I acted just like my dad. I took that 83-year-old hand in mine and made him look me in the eyes and repeat "I will get better. I want to get better." I did not let him quit saying it until he said it loudly and confidently. Then the Jamie McKenzie moment came tearing through as I told Mr. Miller he had to growl at me. If you read the post about my dad, you understand the growl thing. So, I sat on nursing home bed holding my friend's hand and smiled as he growled at me. I am sure it looked crazy from the outside view, but I was being strong and forcing Mr. Miller to be strong too. It was a time for strength.
Honesty one more time. I am ready for this emotional Halloween to pass and hope next year's Halloween's only concern is how much candy I will consume. Yet, if it's not, I will be ok because I have a God who is constantly sending me reminders and encouragement (even through hospital decor). I will be ok because when I am weak I have family and shoulders to cry on, and when I am strong, I can help others find their own growl as well. Finally, I will be ok because I have learned there is a time and season for everything, and I will be ok thanks to the In-Between of Two Halloweens.