As I approach the beginning of my ninth decade of life, Winchester, KY is proving to be a most interesting chapter of my life. Begun on the southeastern shores of Lake Michigan almost hours after Charles Lindbergh left for Paris in 1927 in his small aircraft, my first-born had travelled through ten states and into northern Mexico by the time she was ten months old (I was 24). Since that time, her mother and I have served parish ministries as distant as South Georgia and Northern California and as different as Southwest Texas and Southern Michigan during the seventy years we have journeyed on the matrimonial highway.
A new chapter began in 2005. I became a fulltime caregiver after Tommie had to be resuscitated a half-dozen times or more by Dr John Bradley. She levelled out after that with the Godly medicating of Dr Ted Veras, a very good heart-and-stent- specialist, and a very devout member of the Orthodox Faith. He never did a procedure on her without talking to The Father above. Of course, what makes that story even better is the fact that the Air Force discharged me in 9-47 because she had but 3-12 months left before she would die; this following Dr. Pete Lamey doing a butcher job on her in an emergency surgery in Anderson, IN and ill health forced her to leave AC after one semester.
She was a living miracle by 2012, including her first heart attack in Fort Worth in 1964 and enduring a year-long attack of rheumatoid arthritis during which she knitted 27 sweaters in that year to keep the use of her hands. She spent many an hour with tears of pain trickling down her face, but she saved her hands! :-)
By 2012 her body held 19 heart stents and 3 kidney stents, done in Kalamazoo, MI Bronson and St Joe East Lexington, but now it was old fashioned flu! Once our dear friend Brian Andreas and heart doctor Richard Dinardo got her stabilized again in Winchester, she could not escape the flu. That resulted in our living apart for the next three years; she could not travel enough to return home. I finally closed the house and came to KY some eighteen months ago—now stuck in Winchester where I currently care for her, cover our disabled (only) daughter, and deal with a dysfunctional husband who is severely addicted to alcohol and mentally impaired as part of the bargain.
Thus the thought I started with—the Winchester chapter of my life and its curious ambivalence about the issues of life. Winchester is the home of my beloved Greek Brother Vasilis (the former pastor known to all as “Brother Bill K”). With him and me as active as we can be, we crisscross, occasionally meet, and maintain a warm, loving relationship filled with mutual respect. Tommie and I have gathered numerous other warm-hearted friends with whom we love to interact (including our friends at 1st Church on Colby Road and the Liberty Family with Pastor Paul and Charlene et al)
I maintain a close relationship with former Pastor Steven V. Williams, President of Reformation Publishers. I walk closely beside Steve and Martha as Steve walks by faith through his own forest of personal difficulties. I would not take for any of these experiences. I do not ask for more for Tommie and me; God has brought us this far and it is far beyond what the most learned of men could offer through the years.
What I continually ponder is the ambivalence of humanity that is vainly proud of its Christian culture, as is Winchester. Kentuckians insist on decorating their license plates with the words “In God We Trust” but I look in vain for expressions of that faith when it comes to organizing our democratic government so as to share in a care system it vainly leaves for the church to fulfill as faith-based ministries of whatever kind.
Life has somehow put me in the spot of dad helping manage the affairs of a deeply depressed daughter that counts a gang rape in college as part of her resume; two bad marriages; having her guts ground out at her work in which she highly specialized, only to be run through the pencil sharpener by a chivalrous good-ole-boy club in a governmental work force that gave the prizes to the war heroes and used the women to keep them propped up; now trying to survive almost 25 years with this current alcoholic --in a body burned out from overwork, broken down from lifelong asthma, permanently disabled and on the end of an oxygen hose 24-7 to keep her breathing and slow the hardening of her rib cage.
What I do not understand is this political structure that allows a man to leach off of other people his whole life and either refuse to comprehend responsibility or glibly avoid it while the whole community knows the man. Nobody will touch him. He is allowed to run up $80,000 in medical bills but when unable to pay, who do they go after? The spouse that refuses to throw away a bad bargain because she was not raised that way. She has a problem! She cares about people. She has some principle (even if I disagree with her handling of it) !
Curiously, our current alcoholic delinquent has a fine hanging over his head. Local politics care only that the married spouse come up with the offender’s fine and allow him to go to traffic school. If “she does not” he goes to jail and she pays a bigger fine of $500. I see this as punishing the victim – as only for the profit of the local political administration. He spends most of his time in bed dysfunctional and drinking, when not scrounging up enough to buy another half-case of drink. Otherwise, I carry the brunt of the load—cooking, cleaning, managing.
This would all be solved if this spouse would simply divorce the offending husband and say “Enough is enough!” She had one marriage where her lawman could not keep his pants zipped up; she does not want to live alone, or divorce. I find myself wondering whatever happened to that Christian teaching that teaches “we are our brother’s keeper”. I contend that we the people are self-governing and I find it satisfying to structure our society so that we provide safety nets for the poor, the most vulnerable etc. I once resented having it "taken from me," until I learned better in my relationship with Jesus.
Today I find it totally pagan, heathen, worldly if you like, to insist on big military expenditures (security issues) and take medical care away from millions. Health care should be a rightful expectation of every citizen. To support those who have and reject those who have not is using our government for selfish purposes to say the very least.
Most Democrats and most Republicans will respond from out of their political platform, but the answer is in neither political party and cannot be filtered through political platforms. Yet, I look in vain for the words of Jesus when I look to this proud “Bible Belt” mentality of Clark County KY--so proud of its Christian culture that I see as nothing but a hypocritical sham (with all due respect to my world of Christian friends).
From my corner of Warner’s World,
I am walkingwithwarner.blogspot.com
I am walkingwithwarner.blogspot.com
... and this is how I am reading the Winchester chapter of my life on this Mother’s day of 2017. **My mother lived a hard life of 89 years (dad was a hard taskmaster) but in her final days she taught me how to take my departure from this troubled world and I bless her memory for that special memory.