Sunday evening I checked out a couple of blogs and one in particular caught my eye. It was Justin Taylor’s blog, The Gospel-Emptying Cruelty of Pat Robertson. Then I watched the video where Pat Robertson answered the question in regards to divorce and Alzheimer’s.
I then checked out some other links to the story:
Then I watched an interview of Russell Moore on CNN.
This issue hits home to every pastor. We have folks in our congregations that have gone through the hardship of seeing a loved one suffer with Alzheimer’s. It hits home very personally in my own life because my mother has Alzheimer’s. My father takes care of my mother, his wife of 53 years. He fixes her a strudel and a hot cup of Mocha every morning and sets out her medication on saucer for her to take. He does all of the cooking and shopping. He will listen to her talk about going to work, when she hasn’t worked in over 15 years. He will listen to her talk about having to move because they are living in her mother’s house, in her mind. He must listen to her ask the same questions many times a day. And he does this day in and day out. Is it trying? You bet. Is it frustrating and difficult at times? Yes. But to hear Pat Robertson say that it is justifiable to divorce your spouse because they have Alzheimer’s is horrendous.
So I wrote the following twenty minutes before my father called me:
My father doesn’t own a computer, so he will never read this blog, but I will call him this week and tell him how proud I am of him for taking care of his wife, my mother, in sickness and in health. Thankfully my mother’s Alzheimer’s is still in the mild stage, but by all indications my father will continue to love her and care for to the best of his ability. When the time comes that he can no longer do so, we will have to seek a skilled care facility. The next time I see my father, I will show him Russell Moore’s testimony and tell him how proud I am in how he is serving mom day in and day out.
At about 9:20 PM my father called. Normally he doesn’t call this late but he was checking in to see how my day had been and to tell me that the Cardinals won 5 to 0. It was so surreal that he called at this time. I could hardly hold back the tears. Since it was on my mind, I went ahead and told him how proud we were in how he was taking care of mom. I told him that he was doing a good job and that I knew that it hadn’t been easy. That is about all I could say to him at the moment. I am not an overly emotional person, but I had to let him go. I slipped into my bedroom for a moment, just long enough to think about what had happened. I am upset by how Pat Robertson answered the question posed to him. Yet it provided an opportunity for me to think about my father and other caregivers who lovingly stand by their parents, spouse or child in the time when they need them the most. It will also give me a better awareness of the thoughts that some people have.
I guess you could say that divorcing a spouse with Alzheimer’s is justifiable—if you’re an atheist. If there is no god and we are here by chance, our lives ultimately don’t have any meaning, and there is no afterlife, no god to be accountable to—then sure divorce your wife because you only go around once! Live it up because you have to go for everything and sticking around caring for a loved one is only wasting what little time you have.
I have never been a fan or follower of Pat Robertson. I don’t watch him or care to watch him. But I do hope and pray that he will have a change of heart and repent of his statement. I thank the Lord for clear thinking leaders like Russell Moore and for caregivers who continue to love and serve through hardships.