Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Fix It

Visits to my aged mother are tough duty now. One factor is that it drives me out of feel-good, rah, rah and forces me to confront the truth about the realities of life - not just those of an aged mother, but those of my own as well.

Confrontation with truth could be one of the reasons there are not a lot of visitors of residents in a nursing home.
Another may be that when we experience our loved one baffled, confused, half aware, blind, deaf, and fumbling for words she can't remember, we want to fix it. But we cant'. Again, our own limitations, our own mortality, our own feeble humanness becomes painfully apparently. Oh yes, I have it all together yet my mother is laying there, a mental and physical invalid, and my poor powers cannot help. I am not able to fix it.

"I want to go to my home," my mother said.

"You are home. You are not at the hospital anymore."

"I know, but I don't like it here. I want to go home."

"Mother, we sold your house years ago when you went to the nursing home.",death She studied me for a minute.

"I don't have that, but I don't like it here."

"Mother do you know where you are? You are in the nursing home."

"I know I am in a nursing home."

"Where is home then, Mother." She fumbled with her sheets and mumbled, trying to put together thought and words locked apart in her mind. She looked up at me with sad,fretting eyes in apparent frustration of failing to articulate meaning.

Finally she said, "I am no good for nothing here. I am not doing anything good here, like this." I didn't answer. She looked up at me with a stern and steady gaze, which I thought meant, "Can't you fix it." Like a wave, helplessness curled in upon me, and covered me up. The vivid truth humbled me. As I looked into her eyes I thought: I can't fix it. Past all I can do to hide and deny, past all the propaganda, I am just a man. I just can't "fix it." I can't even fix it for myself. I need Jesus for that. I was empty. I could be filled now.

I could see much more in her intent gaze. As we continued to study each other's face, her look seemed to say something more, something more eternal than "fix it." The eyes seemed to say, "I want to go home. I want to see Jesus."

"Do you want to go see Jesus, Mother."
"Yes." A smile came into her eyes.

-Come Lord Jesus - Fix It.

Mother died peacefully July, 20, 2016; once broken, now mended: once part, now whole, restored and renewed; fixed by Jesus.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

But, It Is

My mother will be one hundred and two in July. She is in a nursing home. She is losing her mind - something that she has always hoped wouldn't happen. But, it is. And I don't like it that she can't walk, has a broken ankle, is bedridden, sleeps all the time. I wish it wasn't so; but it is. That is the way things really are - a bitter pill to swallow at the end of it all. But, it just is.

End of it all? Yesterday, I was sitting by her bed, trying my best to carry on a conversation with her. She mumbled sounds that were unintelligible, and I smiled and nodded in agreement. Conversations with her are real work now. She said she had sandwiches for breakfast, and that she had heard a wonderful sermon that morning. Where did she hear a sermon: she has no TV. She doesn't go down to the lunch room when they have Sunday services in the home. Besides, it was Saturday. No services were scheduled. Where did she hear a sermon? She didn't say it was on the television. She could only say it was "here."

Conversations have to improvised. "What was the sermon about that you loved so much?" She fumbled and stuttered for words. "What? Eternal life?"

"Yes eternal life." I heard that clearly.

"Do you believe in eternal life."
"Uh-huh." She shook her head yes.
"I do too, Mother. Jesus said, 'For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish----" She broke in.

"But have eternal life." I was floored that she could finish my scripture. Moments before she was confused about her breakfast; didn't know what day it was; couldn't form words or speak coherently. Now, she was speaking quite clearly and finishing off a scripture quote. Perhaps she had heard a sermon. Perhaps God was trying to reassure her here in her last days that, indeed, this miserable life she is living now will transform into the blessed eternal: eternal life. Perhaps, God, through Mother, was trying to reassure me as well, because "now more than ever I cherish the cross. Now more than ever, I sense the reality that is eternal life. I may not understand it. But, it just is. Praise God.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

I Want to Look Like You

At the pool where I sometimes swim, there is often a man there who is, what may be considered, morbidly obese. One day he just sat in the chair on the side of the pool and watched me swim lap after lap. The next time that we were both there H did a sort of dog paddle to one end of the pool, then rested and dog peddled back. He did this a few times before quitting. That is what he did every time we were there together, but each time he did more laps. I did my best to encourage him, and he seemed to appreciate it and take it in the spirit it was offered.

Just the other day he dog paddled many more laps than he had ever done before. When he finally got out of the pool, I stopped to compliment him on his long workout. He said he was trying; doing the best he could. Then he said, "I want to look like you." I was sort of taken aback, not knowing what to say but thanks.

I didn't think I really looked all that good, so I felt especially honored by the compliment. I was glad that at 72 years of age I could still do something that might inspire someone. However, wouldn't it have been great if he had been talking of the Jesus he had seen in me? Sure I try hard not to miss my swim/bike/run workouts, but am I working out hard enough, often enough, intensely enough in my walk with Jesus that others might see that faith and say, "I want to look like you." Help me be that person, Lord.