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One Year Later

by Bev Berens

Published: Friday, June 8, 2018

One year ago, Mr. Berens' health took a big detour. We found ourselves as a family sitting in the big Grand Rapids hospital, waiting, while Mr. Berens' heart had a major overhaul. It was an anxious and stressful time last summer. Many of you have experienced similar times when the future was even more wildly unsure than it is already.

I couldn't imagine what I wrote about a year ago, much less how I found time to write it. So, I found it and gave it another read. It's good to look back sometimes. It shows you where you've been. It reminds you what you've been through, the scars and the trophies, and why my hair is so much grayer than 365 days ago.

One year ago, we were already well into hay. It looks like we are a week later than last year. Of course, everything is later this year, but still, we get impatient for the relief when the last bale of first cutting is rolled up and tucked under a roof. In 2017, the weather was playing cat and mouse—rain, maybe sun, maybe rain, definitely sunshine, but maybe a tornado. In the end, the weather is still going to do what it's going to do, in spite of all the predictions in the world. Some things never change.

One year ago, I was ready to sign for the long-awaited loan to remodel our antiquated farmhouse kitchen. Maybe this summer? The house did get a new roof, siding and front porch, all of which were in the works at this time one year ago. (And took the better part of the summer to finish.) However, that home improvement project would be in the trophy category, because new vinyl siding is more inviting than faded, damaged and non-existent aluminum any day.

The kids (no matter how old, they will always be referred to as kids) took charge of making hay and recruited any of their friends who could drive a tractor to help. Now, one is off with buddies on a last fling while they are all still single. The other is in the middle of a health crisis/healing and rest time of her own thanks to someone who missed a stop sign on a very busy and dangerous road. We are now seeking a calendar that simply skips May since the month seems to have it in for us.

Handling another crisis hasn't helped the gray hair situation. I'm still torn between taking the grays with grace or going on an all out attack with the help of my hair gal.

One thing didn't change in a year's time. Friends still kick in and step up to help. Friends will do chores, bring a meal or cheesecake and send cheerful flowers and cards. Friends still pray you through the hard times.

A year ago, our Friday chat ended this way. "For I am the Lord your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you" (Isaiah 41:13).

Sometimes, I did fear during the past 12 months. You did too, right? But a good look back over 365 days proves that He did hold my hand by sending friends and family to do the work on His behalf. He sent help when I didn't even know I needed it, and in so doing, showed me how to be a better helper to my neighbors.

"Do not fear; I will help you."

He certainly does.

Bev Berens is a freelance writer and FFA parent from Holland, Mich. She can be contacted at

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