In our final contrast of Lewy Body Dementia with “spiritual” dementia, we’ll look at “Don’t Make Me Suffer.”
As a part of her disease, Audrey had hallucinations that people and things were spraying her with water, even toxins. Before we started her on a new medicine that mercifully helped her (drugs don’t always bring the results hoped for with every patient), she would sit in our living room with a piece of paper in front of her eyes, blocking the spray that was supposedly coming from the television.
Many an evening, Audrey would scream at Larry, “This is your house. You have to do something to stop the spraying. You are a mean son that you don’t prevent this from happening.”
Larry was helpless in preventing it or convincing her that nothing could be done–because it wasn’t really happening! She was determined to find someone to prevent her distress. She often commented, “Nobody should treat an old lady like this!”
In the midst of our inability to help her, I recognized my own demand that life shouldn’t treat me “like this” with it’s struggles and difficulties. I get angry with God that He doesn’t prevent the “spraying” of bad things. Although Audrey’s spraying couldn’t bring good into her life, God does allow difficulties in my life to draw me closer to Him. It is only through challenges that I recognize my need of Him and my inability to handle life on my own. I was learning, even through being challenged by caring for Audrey, that “when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). Every time I was tempted to be impatient, unkind, or insensitive to Audrey, I could choose God’s enabling power to see Audrey through God’s eyes of love and choose to love her well. I never perfectly arrived at that goal, but God graciously helped me make progress.
And that’s, finally, the last thing I learned through Audrey’s Lewy Body Dementia: I have a choice. God holds me responsible. Audrey couldn’t make a choice. Her disease had stripped away her ability to make wise, godly choices and God never held her accountable.
But I’m aware of my spiritual dementia. I choose to cast away truth, protect my image, take things personally and expect that life should treat me kindly. I can’t blame anyone else.
God used Audrey to reveal to me my spiritual dementia. He also used that journey of caregiving to diminish my spiritual dementia.
What is God using in your life to diminish your spiritual dementia? You can trust that He is doing that for your good and His glory.