Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Willingness (02/21/05)
TITLE: The Request
By Cynthia Zirkwitz
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Margie thought, “Oh boy, here we go again… the limitless requests, the demands on my time, the inconvenience, the same old boring routine.”
She said, “Let’s get you inside first, Mom. Then we’ll have a cup of tea and talk, okay?”
She had learned that a good Christian daughter smiles through adversity, and so she did. With a sigh she pulled the walker from the trunk and unfolded it, in one smooth motion. Her mother flinched a little as she jerked the passenger door open and snapped off her seatbelt. Margie prided myself on being Efficiency in Action.
She loomed over her mother, waiting. The older woman made stirring movements. In one hand she clutched her purse and a scrunched tissue. She reached for Margie with her brown-speckled, swollen-knuckled hand and together they worked to shift her out of the car. Her nails were uncannily long and Margie reminded herself to ask if she wanted them clipped the next time they met. Margie had witnessed these same hands create fabulous meals for entire harvest crews and large family gatherings, play piano, knit, embroider, stroke the cheeks of countless children, and of course, folded in prayer.
Margie helped her mother make her way up to her apartment in the seniors’ tower. She unlocked the doors, pushed buttons, and held doors open for her mother. She carried the purse, a repository for everything her mother needed during the day out: medications, tissues, spare glasses, a small bottle of scent, pens, a wallet (Margie had insisted that she open a checking account and not heft around large amounts of cash), and a weighty old, much-marked Bible. Margie had attempted to lighten her mother’s load with a new electronic Bible, and when that was rejected as being “too technical”, with a smaller, compact “purse-sized” one. Her mother said she couldn’t make out the print.
She put the kettle on after helping her mother put away her coat and settle down into her lounger. Margie’s mind was on her next task away from the apartment when her mother’s words burst into her reverie like a phone marketer’s call into a family dinner.
“Sweetie, I want you to arrange for me to go into a nursing home. The pain is getting worse and this is all just too hard for me. I know that you are worried, too,”
In two strides Margie was at her mother’s side, kneeling, hugging, sobbing, willing her small fragile mother be strong and vigorous once again. They both wept.
Later that evening, back at home, Margie sat in her own lounger stroking Fritz, her marmalade cat. Somewhere deep inside she heard a reassurance that this sadness too would pass. Her mother was always willing to go where God led in her journey. She had lived a full and productive life and was prepared for the next step. Margie hugged Fritz up against her. “Here I am God,” she said aloud.
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