Choosing a One Word for 2022 is Guaranteed to Bring Challenges

Do you have a one word for 2022? I felt led to chose the word wait. Now I'm dealing with God's sense of humor. Or his answer to my prayer. #oneword2022 #selfcare #wait #challenges #elderly #sandwichgeneration

Do you have a one word for 2022? I felt led to chose the word wait. Now I’m dealing with God’s sense of humor. Or his answer to my prayer.

Do you have a one word for 2022? I felt led to chose the word wait. Now I'm dealing with God's sense of humor. Or his answer to my prayer. #oneword2022 #selfcare #wait #challenges #elderly #sandwichgeneration

A Series of Unfortunate Events

“You know what this means, don’t you?” Pedro asked. His voice sounded guarded and distant as he spoke through the car’s Bluetooth system.

“Yeah,” I said. “I’ll get the guest room ready.” His dad would be moving in with us for the foreseeable future. The first week of December 2021 hadn’t gone anything as I’d expected it.

His 89-year-old dad tripped and fell in his driveway. On the way back from the emergency room the next day, Pedro realized his dad didn’t seem to know who he was or where he lived. Because of the mental confusion and knee injury (just a bad sprain), we brought his dad to live with us.

Our nest has stayed mostly empty for the last ten years, and having an elderly relative move in has discombobulated me. As Pedro works with his dad’s doctors, takes him to appointments, and cares for his basic needs, I wait.

We thought we had the next six months planned out—vacation times, weekend getaways, and daily routines. Now questions loom like a dark cloud blocking out the sun. Will his dad be able to live on his own after cataract surgery? Does his dad have dementia? Perhaps he will need memory care soon.

And so I wait. But I don’t do a very good job of waiting. I chose the word wait for my one word for 2022, and God, with his sense of humor, opened ample opportunities for me to live the word.

One Word for 2022

My one word for 2022 has two meanings. Wait—to have patience during uncertainty. It also means to serve—to wait on someone. Each day I wait on my father-in-law as I clean up the trails of crumbs he leaves scattered across the kitchen.

Although I’ve known him for 35 years, I don’t really know my father-in-law. His wife dominated all conversations (she passed away in September). He speaks Spanish better than English. I speak English better than Spanish. He comes from an era when adults were the jug and children the mugs. (He’d rather dispense wisdom and advice than get to know me as a person).

As an introvert, I’ve loved my routine of solitude each afternoon. Now, an almost stranger wanders around my home, interrupting my train of thought with noisy phone calls and quiet questions.

His frail, shuffling movements trigger me to a time of intense emotional trauma—when Pedro had cancer, weighed 135 pounds, and could only move at a shuffle. I decided to take my own advice and seek a good therapist rather than suffer in silent stress during this time of transition and waiting.

And so we wait. We don’t know how long he’ll live with us, but in the waiting, I see an opportunity. Opportunity to get to know my father-in-law better, to learn to wait on him frustration-free. To clothe myself and my actions in love and leave resentment at the door. Who would have thought my one word for 2022 would challenge me so much?

But I know the peace will come. God promises.

Above all, clothes yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.”

Colossians 3:14-15a NIV

Did you choose one word for 2022? How has it impacted your life so far? Check out my friend Lisa’s one-word community!

Do you have a one word for 2022? I felt led to chose the word wait. Now I'm dealing with God's sense of humor. Or his answer to my prayer. #oneword2022 #selfcare #wait #challenges #elderly #sandwichgeneration

8 Comments

  1. We took care of my m-i-l in our home for five years. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done, for many of the reasons you mentioned plus others. Yet as we retraced our steps several times, it was the only option. She had been in assisted living and the a nursing home. Assisted living was okay until she started needing more help–it seems like the more she needed, the more her care deteriorated. (And even assisted living isn’t easy as you have to make time to visit and advocate for them and do things the facility won’t.) In the nursing home, she got down to 90 lbs. and was barely responsive. We thought we were bringing her home to die. But with one on one care, she perked up. Decline eventually caught up with her, though. She was very sweet through it all, which was a rebuke to me. Hospice care was a help in some but a pain in other ways–strangers coming in and out, often without calling first or showing up when they said they would–more waiting. 🙂 That was the time I had to learn to ask for and lean on God’s grace moment by moment more than any other time in my life. May God give you wisdom and grace as you walk the path ahead, whether temporary or long term.
    Barbara Harper recently posted…An Old Poem For a New YearMy Profile

  2. Oh, Anita. As an introvert, one of my greatest fears is to have someone else come live in my home again after being empty-nesters for almost 10 years. But God bless you for taking in your f-i-l! I pray I’ll have the love and courage and selflessness to do likewise if I’m ever in that position with my in-laws. They’re both in their 80s now and are healthy, but I know that can all change with a single fall or accident.

    Thanks for sharing here about our One Word community! It’s so exciting to be learning about everyone’s word choices this month.
    Lisa notes recently posted…Share Four Somethings—January 2022My Profile

  3. A time of your lives so necessary as you stand and wait amidst the changes and whirlwind (I see that Charlie Brown character with the dust/dirt whirling about him). Although such a difficult and chaotic period, it can be one that God will surely use to grow you. Mama did not physically live with us, but I cared for her for fifteen years. Kenneth was caring for his Mom during that period. We had much waiting to deal with as we swirled in all we had to do and be. I lift you and Pedro in my prayers, Anita.
    ~ linda recently posted…Just Enough!My Profile

  4. Waiting in any season is hard but with disruptions to routines, especially for us introverts, make it harder. The fact that you want to care for your FIL without resentment and frustration speaks highly of your character. I pray that the Lord would bless you during this season of waiting.
    Cindy Davis recently posted…A month of focus in reviewMy Profile

  5. This is beautiful, Anita, “I see an opportunity. Opportunity to get to know my father-in-law better, to learn to wait on him frustration-free. To clothe myself and my actions in love and leave resentment at the door.” May the Lord continue to give you grace to love and serve and clean. And may He help you recalibrate quickly after interruptions to your quiet thoughts. 🙂
    Lisa Blair recently posted…Apple of God’s EyeMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

You may also like

%d bloggers like this: