The Phantom of the……What?

Aaron likes music of various sorts and is tolerant of most of my musical choices.  We all have our favorites when it comes to the music that we enjoy and Aaron is no different.  The one form of music that he probably enjoys the least is opera.  I don’t listen to opera, honestly, though I do appreciate it.  To Aaron, though, even Handel’s Messiah is opera.  I love The Messiah, especially at Christmas…….and inevitably when I have it playing, Aaron will walk in, raise his eyebrows, give me “that” face, and say something about Mom liking opera.

When The Phantom of the Opera movie hit theaters several years ago, it quickly became a favorite to me and Andrea.  I have the CD, and so a couple weeks ago I decided to play it in the van while driving Aaron to his group.  He had heard it before, a long time ago, but this time he was very fascinated with it.  So fascinated, in fact, that he decided to start looking The Phantom of the Opera up on the internet…..meaning he was looking at YouTube trailers and talking about this movie….a lot!  It didn’t matter to him that it had the word “opera” in it…..or that some of the singing was rather operatic.  He was becoming hooked on the story and had tons of questions.

I was in Target one day when I saw The Phantom of the Opera DVD on sale for only $5.00.  I bought one and later that day showed it to Aaron, to his great delight.  Now he could actually watch the real movie instead of just watching the movie clips.  And hopefully have all of his questions answered instead of clomping down the stairs to find me, with yet another query about The Phantom of the Opera. 

 
For awhile, though, he still watched the movie clips and still asked me many questions……until one day I looked him in the eye and profoundly said, “JUST WATCH THE MOVIE!!” 

“Oh yeah,” he said…..and back up the stairs he went to his room to actually WATCH THE MOVIE!!

Before long, I heard Aaron returning down the stairs.  “Mom!” he exclaimed.  “The Phantom of the Menace is singing to Christine about ‘my power over you!!’ What does he mean?!”

“Wait, Aaron,” I said.  “The Phantom of the What?”

“The Phantom of the Menace is singing to Christine about his power over her.  And he called her his sleepy angel!”  With that, Aaron doubled over and furiously rubbed his hands together in delight.  He was really getting into this.

“Aaron, it’s The Phantom of the OPERA,” I corrected him.

“Oh yeah,” he said as he hurried back upstairs……and I stood there knowing that Aaron was enthralled by the fact that this Phantom of the Whatever said that he had power over Christine.  Forget opera……forget singing……forget the love story…..   We’re talking POWER here!!!

Aaron was hooked.

Later, he came into the kitchen to find me.  “Mom!  Text Andrea to tell her!”

“Tell her what, Aaron?” I asked.

“Tell her that I like The Phantom of the Menace.  Put it this way…..” 

Opera, Aaron.  The Phantom of the Opera.

So I texted Andrea to tell her that Aaron liked The Phantom of the Opera.

And on another occasion…..”Mom!  Did you tell Andrew that I like The Phantom of the Menace?”

Opera, Aaron.

Soon Aaron realized that there was more going on in The Phantom of the Opera than underground tunnels and organ music and POWER.  He was catching on to the fact that there was a love story involved.  He knew that Christine had two men who loved her.

“Mom, the other guy that likes Christine is greedy of her!” 

Well…..kind of……but not really greedy…..it’s just that……

Sigh.  You try to explain it as Aaron stands there rubbing his hands together and then says, “Mom, The Phantom of the Menace is my favorite character!”

Opera, Aaron.

He wanted to know where the movie took place.  “Mom, I noticed they say things in Paris words!”

He wanted to know why the Phantom wore a mask.  “Mom, it’s funny that The Phantom of the Menace wears a mask.  I thought he could have done skin surgery!”

Opera, Aaron.

And I was not going to explain skin surgery availability at this point.  Aaron’s attention to every detail was taking all the fun out of the movie…..except for him.  To Aaron, that IS the fun of a movie!!  Every single solitary miniscule detail must be discussed until Gary and I are thoroughly sick of it!  And I used to love The Phantom of the Menace.

Opera.

“Mom!  I noticed that The Phantom of the Menace is trying to kidnap Christine in chapter 8!”

Oh great.  Now he’s even into what CHAPTER contains every single solitary miniscule detail.

Opera, Aaron.

And perhaps Aaron’s most astute observation:  “Mom, I noticed that movie is about singing.”

Opera, Aaron.  It does involve some singing.

And I had to smile……smile at how intriguing every movie and every event is to Aaron.  How he processes all that he sees and hears, down to every single solitary miniscule detail.  He doesn’t miss a thing.  He even said that some of the songs in The Phantom of the Menace…..Opera…..made him cry.  Wow!

So yesterday at his yearly BASIS meeting at Paradigm, we sat there with a new person doing his assessment.  She was easy going and so Aaron relaxed.  He started talking about movies, of course.  And I reminded him to tell her of his new favorite movie.  Aaron just looked blankly at me, so I quietly prompted him.

“Phantom of the….”

“Menace!” he said.

Opera, Aaron. 

She had no idea why I laughed.

Movie Day With Rosie

A few days before Aaron’s birthday, he and I sat across from each other at our kitchen table.  He was excitedly telling me of all that he hoped would happen on his birthday…..dinner at Texas Roadhouse and then over to our house for apple pie and ice cream…..and most important, Rosie would be coming…..right, Mom?  Then he asked me if Rosie could bring her favorite movie to our house for her and Aaron to watch after they ate pie and ice cream, and after he opened his presents. 

He was so hopeful about that scenario.  I just looked at this man of mine that is still in many ways a child, and I felt a huge lump forming in my throat.  I tried to swallow it away, but the lump was also in my heart and that’s not so easy to swallow or wish away.  Sometimes I’m slapped in the face with the reality that Aaron wants to have a normal life where he makes his own decisions about things like time with Rosie.  Yet he must always involve his parents, because he needs our permission and he needs us to drive and he needs us to accompany him and he needs us to pay for things.  How would I handle a life like that?  And how do we parents handle our adult children’s desires for a normal life?  Those thoughts and emotions were swirling in my head as I heard Aaron ask again if I thought he and Rosie could watch a movie that night of his birthday.

As it turned out, they did not get to watch a movie because the night was getting late.  He and Rosie seemed fine with that.  Aaron was full of talk when they left, worried that Rosie didn’t have fun because she was afraid that our big dog would come upstairs……happy that she got to ride with him in our van to Outback and to our house……happy that Rosie’s mom and dad came, and that they all went upstairs to see his room.  So childlike, yet with adult desires, as well.

So it was wonderful when Louise called me the next day, and together we planned to take Aaron and Rosie to see the new movie “Big Hero 6.”  Aaron and Rosie anticipated it all week, talking and talking about it.  Aaron had already seen the movie and he knew that Rosie would like it.  And he was just very happy to actually be going to the theater again with Rosie, something that he has missed so much since she started going to another day group. 

Aaron and I met Rosie and Louise at the theater.  There came Rosie, clutching several crayons in her hand and carrying her coloring book.   As soon as we were seated in the theater, Rosie proceeded to open her coloring book and color away.  Aaron turned to me and started his usual talking, so finally I told him he should talk to Rosie…..and he immediately turned to Rosie and talked while she colored.  Then before I knew it he was talking to me…..and I reminded him to talk to Rosie…..and this scene was repeated several times until the movie started.

Aaron reached down to get his popcorn when he was satisfied that it was the right time to do that, which must be when the movie starts.  I nearly laughed when he held it far away from me in order to be sure that Rosie got first choice of a fist full of popcorn.  Louise brought a hamburger to Rosie then, so I took that time to grab some popcorn……but soon Rosie and Aaron were sharing the bucket of kernels again, and I just enjoyed watching their sweet routine that they know all too well from several years of sharing popcorn together. 

There sat Louise on one end, beside Rosie……and me on the other end, beside Aaron……with our two “kids” between us.  It was like we were chaperones.  It was fun and dear and sweet.  Of course, Aaron laughed too loud and too often, so I did my usual patting of his leg and whispering for him to be quiet.  Rosie seemed oblivious to Aaron’s loud laughter.  I’m sure she’s completely used to Aaron’s ways.

After the movie, as we walked through one of the lobbies, Aaron and Rosie agreed to let Louise take their picture beside Big Hero 6 himself……or sort of.  They show their happiness in this picture……adults standing there with a child’s delight.  That could also describe me and Louise as well as we laughed, and then as we walked out of the theater together, chattering and laughing in the cold. 
 
It was a good day……a sweet day.  I’m glad that we took the time to let our kids enjoy this movie day together.  Sometimes making these events happen can be a sacrifice of our time as a parent, especially us older parents who look around and realize that most parents our age are well beyond these years……or are doing these things with grandchildren.  Yet there are so many harder things we could be forced to do for our special needs children, and I know that we are surely blessed. 

Blessed, too, to be able to provide a way and a time and a place for our two special ones to enjoy part of a normal life together, participating in an activity that most other friends take for granted.  Aaron and Rosie have no idea of the way their happiness helps our mother hearts to feel soothed.  That sad lump in my heart was not an issue yesterday.  It was replaced by laughter and by joy as I  watched Aaron and Rosie have fun doing something totally normal. 

How do we parents of special needs children handle our adult children’s desires for a normal life?  Well, in this case, with a simple movie and some popcorn. 

Simply perfect!

The First Snow

The first thing I did when I got up this morning was to look out the window to see if we had gotten any of the possible snow that has been talked about over the past few days.  If you look hard, like between the cracks of our brick walkway out back, or on our roof, you can see a little faint dusting of snow.  It’s just a tiny bit, but it would have been enough at one time to keep up our old family tradition.

 
My mind goes back on this cold morning to other cold mornings of my childhood.  I remember how Mom would always be up very early, faithfully fixing breakfast for Dad before he left for his job at the railroad station nearby.  Then she would do the same for us, getting five breakfasts ready for us kids before we left for school……and somehow getting herself ready to head out the door for her own job.

But in the fall or early winter, there was often one magical morning that we would wake up to the sound of Christmas music.   Christmas music didn’t start playing at our house full time until after Thanksgiving.  One holiday at a time, please, in the King household.  However, there was one moment that Christmas music was played before the allowed time…….one day that it was perfectly fine to hear the early strains of We Wish You a Merry Christmas. 

That time was on the occasion of the very first snowfall.  It didn’t matter if the first snowflakes fell in October.  If there was a bit of snow falling from the sky, Mom would put on a Christmas record……and if it was in the morning, we would wake up to the sounds of Christmas in the house.  And we knew…..we knew without even getting out of bed……that there was snow on the ground.  Of course, we would rush to the windows to see if there was enough to allow us to stay home from school, but there rarely was. 

Mom and Dad loved snow.  Even when we all moved away from home, there was that one special day that our phone would ring and when we answered we would only hear a Christmas song being played.  None of us would have to guess or wonder what that was about.  We knew!  It was Mom and Dad announcing with delight that they had gotten the first snowfall of the season.  We all had a little contest going, hoping that we would beat them to the punch and be the one to call first with that Christmas music playing loudly, holding the phone up to the speakers so that they could clearly hear it.   Then we would put the phone to our ear and hear them say, “You got snow?!”  Yes, we got snow and it’s so beautiful, and on and on we would go…..laughing as if this was the greatest day ever.  And it was, in a sense, for Mom and Dad passed their love of snow on to all five of us children……and it was simple and sweet and so much fun to share that first snowfall of the season tradition over the years. 

But it makes me a little sad this morning to know that I can’t call Mom to share my first little snowfall with her.  Well, I could call her…..but she would wonder who I am…..and why am I playing that music to her……and just what is that song, anyway?  Mom has Alzheimer’s and she doesn’t remember our old family tradition.  She doesn’t even remember our family.  So a phone call like that would only frustrate and confuse her, and would be upsetting to me as well.

I’m thankful for the sweet memories, though.  For the special traditions that our family had, as all families do.  I’m thankful that during the time Dad was dying of cancer, God allowed him to enjoy lots of snow during that November.  I remember him sitting in his wheel chair at their sliding glass doors, watching the snow and enjoying the hungry birds crowding their bird feeders on the deck.  Thankful that he got to see the beautiful Christmas tree all decorated the way he loved and listen to the pretty Christmas music.

It makes me realize how much we need to cherish our families and our times together, for it all goes by so quickly.  We live together for such a very short time before everyone scatters.  Brothers, sisters, children…..living here and there in this busy world.  So build the bonds of family strong while the children are young……develop the traditions…..and stay in touch over the years. 

Merry Christmas, everyone!  It’s a little early, but there IS some snow on ground.  If you look real hard, you can see it.  But it’s enough. 
 

Birthday Weekend Highs and Lows

This past Saturday we celebrated Aaron’s birthday.  It was a big one, too, because Aaron turned 30 years old.  However, to Aaron it was a big birthday because every birthday of his is big in his book.  He had none of the qualms or sadness or excitement about turning 30 that most of us have……which is really good, I guess, because he doesn’t fret over age at all.  He frets over more important stuff, like are we sure we’re going to Texas Roadhouse and that Rosie can come and what time we’re leaving and can she come over to our house after dinner.  30 years old means nothing to him……supper and time with Rosie does. 

In fact, for months he and Rosie have talked about his birthday.  Every time I would see Rosie when Aaron was brought home from his group, she would ask me if she was going to get to come to Aaron’s birthday.  I think some of the other clients got tired of hearing about it, but Aaron and Rosie checked and double checked, over and over. 

A couple weeks before his big day, Aaron looked at the calendar and mentioned that his birthday was coming soon…..for real!  “Mom!” he exclaimed.  “At first it seemed like it was a long time for it to come!”  Now it was within sight, almost, and his excitement was building.  Aaron has never liked a ton of attention on that day, surprisingly enough.  He loves the food and the gifts, but he still doesn’t want singing or other attention focused solely on him.  He’s a mix of emotions around that day, for sure.

So I was surprised when he agreed for me to make cookies for him to take to his day group on Friday, the day before his birthday.  I offered, thinking he would say no, but instead he said yes…..and I was very happy.  It’s like having a child in grade school again.  I gave him cookie ideas, none of which greatly excited him……until I suggested M&M cookies.  He said a hearty yes to that idea, so last Thursday I made his M&M cookies.

He saw them cooling on the counter when he walked in the door that afternoon, but instead of sounding excited about them, he seemed a little hesitant.  I wondered if he would back out of taking cookies, not liking the thought of too much attention.  He barely looked at them when he walked by, so I pointed them out to Aaron with enthusiasm.  He flatly said, “It’s kind of crazy.”

“Oh, it’s not crazy to take cookies,” I told him.  “It’s a fun thing to do in honor of your birthday.”

“Well, what’s it mean to be in honor of your birthday?” he asked.

And I explained what it meant while he paced around the kitchen, acting almost scared of the cookies laying there.  I thought I gave a very concise, understandable explanation…..and then Aaron said, “But Friday is not my birthday.”

HaHaHa!!!  So typical Aaron!  Life should be in order, and celebrating his birthday the day BEFORE his birthday is very out of order.  Silly Mom, he seemed to be thinking…..but the next morning he did take the cookies and he shared them with his group.  Progress!

He didn’t know that I had planned tacos for our supper that night.  He had been wanting tacos for a while, so I thought that tacos would be a fun Friday night supper just before his birthday.  When he got home that afternoon, he grinned broadly when I reminded him that tomorrow was his birthday!  And before I could tell him about the tacos soon to come, he said, “Mom?  Can we have what I want for supper and not what you want?” 

I laughed and asked him what he would want.  He said tacos, and I loved the smile on his face when I told him that tacos was what I had planned.  His birthday eve was going well! 

The next morning, Gary and I both wished him a very happy birthday and he just replied, “Yeah,” as he walked away.  I made his usual apple pie that he loves, and he looked at it with very little visible excitement……but I know how Aaron’s mind works and I knew that he was taking mental notes of everything and enjoying it in his way.  The traditional birthday sign, the gifts and “30th” birthday balloon on the table, the apple pie…..all of it was important to Aaron, though he showed little outward joy about it all. 

We met Leroy and Louise, along with Rosie, at Texas Roadhouse…..but there was an hour wait, so we decided to go up to Outback.  Rosie rode in our van, she and Aaron sitting in the back, and talking the whole way.  No one minded changing restaurants and it worked out well.

After dinner, we headed to our house.  Rosie and Aaron rode with us again, talking as always.  It was a fun evening of pie and ice cream, Aaron opening gifts and cards, and plenty of talking again.  It was wonderful to see Aaron and Rosie enjoying their special friendship on this special day.  And Aaron loved having everyone go upstairs before they left so that he could show them his bedroom.  That’s what Aaron does!

 
 
 
Later that night, I told Aaron about all the many birthday greetings he had gotten on FB.  I told him that at that point he had 48 birthday wishes!  He smiled, and so I started reading some of the comments.  He patiently listened for a minute and then interrupted me to ask, “Are you going to mention all 48?”  I guess he had heard enough, so off he went to his room to examine his new birthday gifts and to unwind after a fun evening. 

The next morning, Sunday, he had a seizure at 4:30, and another one at 7:00.  Gary and I stayed close to him all day, and sure enough he had another seizure later that night while sitting in his desk chair.  He was fine and was able to get in bed after a while…..but as always, our emotions were mixed.

So happy he had a wonderful birthday……so thankful that he didn’t have a seizure day on his birthday……so sorry to see him seizing and then see the effects on his body and mind all day.  So thankful that he slept well last night and woke up being his perky self.

I saw a picture on Facebook this morning that said no matter what is going on, there is always, always something to be thankful for.  Being thankful is an exercise that all of us benefit from, and is certainly what God has told us to do. 

And thanks to each of you who love Aaron and wished him a Happy Birthday!!  Your love for Aaron blesses our hearts and encourages us more than you know. 

“Yeah,” as Aaron would say. 

 

 

A Time Change……And A Change of Time

Some of you may remember this post of mine from Facebook a few weeks ago:
          We need to change Aaron’s pick-up time for his day group from 10:30 to 9:30. We may as well have asked him to scale Mt. Everest in shorts and flip-flops…..go swimming in hot lava….play in a den of rattlesnakes…..sleep with a skunk…..walk on hot coals across America….. Get the picture? This could be a tiny bit difficult.
His new pick-up time was to begin this past Monday……right after setting our clocks back one hour on Saturday.  Oh boy!  A double whammy for poor old ‘I like things the same and I don’t like change and I like my clock to stay the same’ Aaron.  To say I was dreading it was an understatement.

I broke the news of the “fall back” time change to him on Saturday afternoon.  “Oh brother!” he said as he turned and went up to his room to ponder this complexity of life.  The extra hour of sleep meant nothing to Aaron.  Order in his world is all that matters, and this time change twice a year is full of disorder.  Not to mention all the changing of clocks!

He and I were playing SkipBo that evening.  We finished at 10:44, which was really 9:44 if the clocks had been set back……but was still 10:44 on most of our clocks because we hadn’t changed them.  Aaron, though, was already operating on the new time.  I found this out when I started putting the cards away and said I was ready to go to bed.

“If it’s 9:44 right now, maybe we should stay up now,” he said as he watched me put the cards in their box. 

“Why?” I asked. 

“Because it’s NOT 10:00!!” he not-too-patiently explained to me. 

“Well, it’s really 10:44 but in the new time it’s 9:44,” I began to explain. 

But nope, it was already a done deal to Aaron.  It was 9:44 now in his head, and he will not go to bed before 10:00…..new time, not old time.  Old time 11:00……new time 10:00.   9:44…..10:44……never mind.

 
The next day he realized that the digital clock by his desk had not been changed yet.  It’s a little difficult to set, so Aaron depends on me or Gary to do it. 

“Mom!” he said.  “The clock by my desk…..it hasn’t been changed behind yet.”   I hear that statement nearly every year, and it never gets old.  I would never think to describe our time change that way, but Aaron does.  Fall back……fall behind……he does remember.

Our other huge hurdle was to occur on Monday, when we would meet his group an hour earlier.  Another time change…..of a different sort…..but a change of time regardless.   UGH!!! 

Gary had suggested that something powerful might work to ease Aaron’s transition into this dreaded new pick-up time.  Something powerful….like sausage biscuits.  So on Sunday night I casually asked Aaron if he would like to leave early enough the next morning to run into Quik Trip to get a couple sausage biscuits.  He casually and quickly answered yes……and I nervously told him that we would need to leave around 9:10.  He didn’t bat an eye.  I relaxed…..just a little.

He was up early on Monday morning, and I realized that this weekend time change would possibly work to our benefit.  Aaron waking up earlier than normal was just what we needed with this new pick-up time.  Wow!!  Perfect timing for a time change after all!!

We had a few initial bumps that morning.  Some name calling…….almost yelling from Aaron…..a couple refusals.  But no throwing of anything breakable……no ripping up of special papers…….no bending his glasses.  And when I went in to tell him that it was nearly time to go, he was compliant.  Another wow!

We left the house without incident and got to QT in time to get his biscuits.  We waited…..and waited……and waited some more.  After a long wait and a few texts and calls, I learned that there was a miscommunication…..and that the new time would start the next day.  Aaron’s ride came, but we had waited an hour.  On most days, Aaron would have been beside himself…….frustrated, angry, tired.  But not that morning.  He was just fine as we sat there watching birds and listening to music and talking….of course.

And all this week, Aaron has been wonderful about the new time that he meets his group.  No anger or complaining or frustration……at all!!  This is truly a miracle.  I can only explain it as an answer to prayer, for I know that Gary and I were praying about it, and I know that many of you were praying, as well.

So thank you for the prayers……and thank the Lord for the timing of this huge change in time.  The clocks “changing behind,” as Aaron says, have been a blessing indeed!

The Bible verse that says our times are in His hands has taken on special meaning to me this week!

 

 

When the Unexpected Becomes Reality

 

I was at my neighbor’s house last Thursday morning as her movers were loading all of her belongings that she was moving to her new assisted living home.  I had run back over to our house to get Aaron and deliver him to meet his day group.  That’s when I got the text from Gary…..as I got Aaron off his computer, let Jackson out to do his business, and quickly checked to see if Aaron had taken his pills.  Gary’s text said, “I’m OK.  Small plane crashed on our building.”

 

What?!  I looked at the picture he sent, but the seriousness of the situation didn’t hit home with me even then.  I had no idea of how tragic and awful it really was.  But later, as we got Nora moved into her apartment, our other neighbor hooked up her television and turned on the local channel.  There was live coverage for the rest of the day……and I was so thankful that Gary had taken the time to text earlier to let me, Andrea, and Andrew know that he was safe.

 

Four people were killed, we found out as the day wore on……the pilot, and three people inside a simulator where the plane had crashed.  I couldn’t imagine the fear I would have experienced if I had not known that Gary was safe from the beginning.  My heart goes out to the families of those who died.  Who would ever imagine that you would go to work one day in Wichita and have your building hit by a plane?   Who would ever imagine getting that horrible visit from a chaplain bearing that terrible news?  And I knew it could easily have been me that received that news…..me that was left without a husband…..my kids left without their dad.

 

We don’t know, do we, what a day will hold.  A couple days before the plane crash, I was nearly involved in a serious car accident…..but it didn’t happen.  Gary could have been killed on Thursday in the FlightSafety building……but it didn’t happen.  What if it HAD happened, though?

 

Like it happened with Mary…..a mom I know who is in her early 30’s.  Less than two weeks ago, she was leaving a movie theater with her four young children, one a two month old, and she had a major stroke.

 

Like it happened with our good friends, David and Jennifer, the day after the plane crash.  David’s dad was scheduled to come home after routine pacemaker surgery, but instead that morning he suddenly died……without warning…..totally unexpected.

 

Like it happened that same day with other good friends whose daughter-in-law and two grandchildren were involved in a serious front end collision on their way to spend the weekend with a friend.  They survived, thank the Lord.

 

What do we do when the unthinkable DOES happen?  What do we do when the unexpected becomes our reality?

 

When we feel like we’ve been hit in the gut and we can’t breathe, the only thing to do is fall back into the arms of God.  How do we do THAT?  By making a conscious decision to trust Him, and to remember Who He is and what He has promised us.  Alec Motyer says, “When the trial comes that prompts the unbelieving ‘Why?’ we must rather drill our minds to hear the call for faith, to recall the Lord’s promises, and cast ourselves utterly onto the reliable rock of His Word.”

 

A couple days after the plane crash, a friend called me.  She was so thankful that Gary wasn’t killed or injured.  She made the comment that we all often hear…..”God is so good.”  And I have to ask myself…..if Gary had been killed or badly injured, could I still say, “God is so good?”  I pray that I could and that I would still declare the goodness of God no matter my personal outcomes, for God’s goodness doesn’t change because He might allow me to go through some tough times.  Paul told Timothy that God remains faithful, and I hope that through my pain and grief I would be able to say and believe the same.

 

This is why it’s so important to learn who God is now……to know his attributes BEFORE the traumas hit.  Our Wichita first responders had just participated in a mock plane crash drill a month before the plane hit FlightSafety.  This drill helped them be better prepared for the real thing.  Likewise, I know that I need to daily trust God in the many events of my life and to learn His character, so when the really hard times come I am better prepared to draw on what I have already learned about God.

 

“How blessed are all who take refuge in Him,” David said in the Psalms.

 

Not spared…..but blessed and held.