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  • downinnorfolk


The beginning of a New Year, and I realise that my wife and I are facing, what you might call, life’s final challenge: the time of life when we are increasingly dependent on others, to look after us and see us through to the end. It is perhaps the biggest challenge that we have faced, physically and spiritually.

There are two phases of retirement or old age: the first when we are still in good health and strength, the second when we become less independent in one way or another, and therefore more dependent on others. This is where my wife and I find ourselves at the beginning of 2023.

When we are young, we deliberately set ourselves new challenges: climbing a tree, winning a race, passing an exam. The human race seems to be programmed to attempt challenges: to reach the South Pole, to climb Mount Everest, to reach the moon or Mars. But life itself presents us with challenges, and much of the time we need look no further than the challenge of coping with what life itself throws at us. And if we live long enough, we will all be faced with the challenges of old age.

My wife, of 57 years, has Dementia and declining physical mobility. At the moment I can care for her at home, but we live in a first floor flat, without a lift. Who knows how things will develop with either of us as time goes on? And if my wife dies first, who will care for me? These are questions we face in 2023. We have to think seriously about moving house one more time. We need a flat or apartment, either on the ground floor or with a lift of some sort. Perhaps a retirement property with a warden or manager, and perhaps a Common Room. We need to be within reach of family and friends, and in easy reach of shops and buses. Such another house-move is daunting at our time of life.

Above all, this is a challenge to our faith. We believe that whatever happens we have a Father who loves us, one who knows everything and can do anything, one who already has plans for us, for now and forever. But even with such a tried and tested faith it is easy to fall into anxiety and fear in the face of the unknown. We both have to reassure ourselves, over and over again, of words which God, through the prophets and Jesus, has spoken to his people in days gone by, and words which one or other of us think that God has spoken to us in our prayers, as we face these things.

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Joshua 1.5

“Fear not for I am with you.” Isaiah 41.10

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.” Isaiah 43.2

“Do not be anxious about tomorrow. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.” Matt 6.34

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.” John 14.1

“I am with you always, even to the end of the world.” Matthew 28.20

And words which God has seemed to be saying to my wife and I, as we have prayed about these things.

“I have it all in hand.”

“It will be alright. “You home is with me.”

To those of you reading this, I would say, bear it in mind that one day this may be you, and meanwhile keep your eyes open for those around you who you may be able to help.


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