I love the line in "Ratatouille" where Anton Ego asks, "You know what I'm craving? A little perspective. That's it. I'd like some fresh, clear, well seasoned perspective." Pat and I have been playing around with some new 'linguistic perspective' on some well-traveled ground.
First, you have to keep in mind what life around Mayer Manor is like these days. With Pat spending nearly all her time in bed, if I want to spend time with her (and who doesn't!), that means I have to hang out in the bedroom as well. With the speakers on the laptop not working, we can't really watch something together without us both listening with headphones. Just seems a bit contrived to me, so we find other things to do.
One of those 'other things' is that sometimes I read to her, usually from the Bible. She then pesters me with difficult-to-answer questions from what I've read and we discuss. The fact that this is now our idea of a hot date shows you what things have come to. But we enjoy it.
Anyway, she had me read the first few verses of James, which has always been a favorite of hers. She then announces that she wants to memorize it in French, so we find a French Bible and she types out the verses on her laptop to help her better learn it. But that's not enough, she then has me spell everything out phonetically for her so she can pronounce it all properly. Did you know they have a whole separate alphabet just for spelling any language phonetically? Me neither. Actually, she was there Sunday at church when they had me pray in French as part of the missions Sunday service. You think she'd have known to ask someone else. I would have. But we're still not done, the final step was to look up the French words in a French-English dictionary and she types out this new, rough-around-the-edges paraphrase back into English. (Those of you keeping score at home will remember we started with English.)
Sounds circular, but we ended up with an interesting twist on the old and familiar, a new perspective if you will. (Those of you who actually speak French might want to look away for just a minute. This won't be pretty.) So "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." now reads as "it is necessary that your endurance goes until the end of what it can do so that you arrive at a state of adulthood and can be of full force, men who are lacking in nothing."*
I like the thought that the trials of life are a chance for my faith to grow up, to go to the end of what it can do so that it can then go on to become an adult version of faith. Childlike faith trusts, but I think an adult faith looks for the ways God wants to change us and grow us, to get us thinking beyond our own comfort. And that's really been Pat's desire and prayer in the unknowns we now face. Let it mature her, she asks, much more so than 'God please take it all away'. Fresh, clear, well-seasoned perspective. She won't like me saying it, I'm proud of her.
Lots o' shout outs: Dan & Linda, Mom H., Mom M., Karen & Eric, Roger & Shari, Sandy (always!), Jim & Barb, Cheri & crew, and to all who have sent emails and cards. Thank you all more than we can say, and may God bless you all richly for it.
*Pat and I will sound a lot like this while in France. Huh. Must be an acquired taste.