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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: End Times (02/27/14)

TITLE: Wrapped in Communion
By Linda Buskirk
03/03/14


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Gradually, it became obvious that something serious happened when Mom fell. Initial X-rays discovered a small bleed on her brain. However, doctors could not determine if a small stroke caused her to fall, or if falling caused the bleeding. With bleeding stopped and no life threatening conditions, she was released from the neuro unit and admitted to the rehabilitation floor of the hospital.

"Rehabilitation" - a hopeful word. Mom would receive the care she needed to rehabilitate, get back on her feet, ambulate safely with her walker, be her old self again.

But that wasn't happening. Her words lacked her usual focus and humor. She often refused to try to walk or participate in therapy. She didn't care much about eating. It was almost pleasant to hear her complain about the coffee, revealing she was aware of her surroundings and wanted something better. Her sad, slow movements made me want to hit "resume play" to jump her back into action from this suspended state.

Her son, my husband, pleaded with her to comply with physical therapy so she could gain the strength and stability needed to go back to her apartment. We began to wonder if she was afraid to go back, to be on her own and subject to falling. The alternative wasn't much better, but we avoided talking about nursing homes. It seemed too threatening. Perhaps we were not ready to face that possibility either.

I ran out of things to talk about during visits. News about family, church or the weather got little response, except for an occasional sigh, or a despondent, "That's nice."

One evening, I took our Episcopal prayer book with me. Southern Baptist Mom bought it for us as a wedding present 30 years before. She joked then that, "It's a used one. I read it." I held my breath until she smiled and added, "There's scripture in there!"

As the brilliant orange sunset cast a candle-like glow through the west window in Mom's room, I began reading the ancient service of Compline. The rich text invited quiet reflection at the end of another long day of struggle and loneliness. Mom seemed to take to Compline from its opening: "The Lord Almighty grant us a peaceful night and a perfect end. Amen."

As the "officiant" I could choose from a variety of prayers and psalms. Mom's love of angels prompted my selection.

"Visit this place, O Lord, and drive far from it all snares of the enemy; let your holy angels dwell with us to preserve us in peace; and let your blessings be upon us always..."

It became an evening practice for us to pray together through Compline. So soothing it was to hear God's promises and invoke his presence to, "Tend the sick... Give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous..."

Softly, she would say thank you and pat my hand before I left. Her gratitude was a blessing that still warms my heart.

I am grateful too for those evenings of worship together. They stretched on for more than a year - not every night, but many. Eventually I knew that her life on earth was ending. What a profound privilege it was to spend time so much time in prayer with Mom before she left this place forever.

The experience provided a glimpse into God's plan for us to be united to each other in Christ. Bound in human love is one thing. Even more glorious are lives wrapped in communion with each other in our Creator and Savior. This is the blessing of the church. May we lovingly seek that unity, desired for us by Christ, so that this closing prayer of Compline be granted: "The almighty and merciful Lord, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, bless us and keep us. Amen."


Non-fiction


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This article has been read 394 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sarah Wipf03/06/14
What a sweet story...thank you for sharing!
Ruth Tredway03/06/14
What a blessing to minister to those who have been our guides! A beautiful illustration of fellowship to the end of life- and memories that go beyond.
CD Swanson 03/07/14
The power of pray and the peace of His love is so apparent, and you've done a mighty fine job of expressing such serenity in your entry.

Thank you for sharing this moment in your life as an example of "Christian fellowship" and "love" --it was beautiful and I'm sure the Lord is well pleased with you.

God bless~
Larry Whittington03/07/14
Your first paragraph brought us to the point of the article and yet the point of this was the time you were able to spend with your Mom.

The rewards of honoring parents come through.
Toni Hammer 03/11/14
You've written this bittersweet story so well. The integration of the topic is spot on. You're not going to be in level 1 for long.
Maura J. Merrigan03/11/14
A lovely read, memories and sweet devotionals with family you penned so well! Blessings
lynn gipson 03/11/14
Very good writing here. Thanks for sharing this personal story. Good job!
CD Swanson 03/13/14
Congrats! God bless~
Bonnie Bowden03/13/14
What a sweet and moving story.

Congratulations on your 1st place award in the Beginners category!
Sheldon Bass 03/15/14
Sorry I'm running behind on comments. I missed this entry earlier and as a result missed such a blessing. Great work. Congratulations on a wonderful entry and deserved 1st place. Keep on shining!
Tracy Nunes 03/25/14
Congratulations on the Quarterly win! I enjoyed this very much and found confirmation and encouragement for my own caregiving situation. Wonderful writing.
Margaret Kearley 04/02/14
I am even more 'out of date' with my comments but have just read this beautiful entry and wanted to thank you for sharing these very special months with us. Such a treasure to read and savour the tender mercy of God to the vulnerable, His provision and His equipping.
Just lovely - thankyou again.
Helen Dowd 05/08/14
Your story was well told. Your emotions came through. I am glad you mentioned your frustration at times, as I am a caregiver, not only to my wheel-chair bound husband, but to my older sister, who is in the middle stages of Alzheimer's. That is hard to deal with at times, and I have to ask God for patience. Then my husband says, "But for the grace of God, go I." And that is true. But God has given me the privilege to be my sister's caregiver, and I am glad that I can do it. Your article has given me grace to do the work God has assigned me to do. Thank you. Helen Dowd