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.