One thing that links all of us together in community is our ability to form connections with friends and family. We connect through shared experiences, special conversations, even current events.
My husband, Ben, does not experience the same connectedness in his life. He does share experiences with people. But he can’t…connect the dots. His impaired memory makes it hard for him to remember the last shared experiences or conversations he’s had with the friends in his life. And so each friendship, each new interaction, provokes anxiety. I imagine he often feels like someone lost in space.
I am just now realizing the profound level of anxiety that Ben feels on a daily basis. At the core of his anxiety is an overwhelming sense of his own lack of context.
Ben feels alone and afraid most of the time because he doesn’t have a sense of connectedness to his own life. He can’t easily remember what he’s done recently or what events are coming up This leaves him feeling… lost. Panicked.
This week, God revealed something to me. Ben and I have been married for almost 20 years. Contextually, we are one flesh. People have repeatedly told me that I need to be the leader in our marriage. But that is not the case at all. I am not Ben’s leader. I am Ben’s context. I am his connection…to our friends, to our life, to our children. And sadly, I have not been embracing this role. I have been rebelling against what I have perceived as Ben’s neediness for me. But now, I feel as though I can rejoice that we are a couple with a strong context and that I can help Ben to feel more centered, more connected, and less afraid.
A Prayer: My schedule pulls me from home and from my family daily. My presence is helpful for Ben. Because my presence helps Ben feel centered and connected and so much more in control of his own life, I am praying that God would provide a change in circumstances where I might be able to support our family financially and still be home with Ben (and the kids) more than I currently am.
A Praise: And I am so very, very thankful that my husband has such a strong foundation in the LORD. He has a simple, easy context with His God. He has a foundation of Scripture that serves to connect him to the Lord and to other Christians. Regardless of his memory problems, Ben is most at home in any context that is filled with praise, worship, and devotion to Jesus Christ.
These are the connections that ultimately matter the most.