Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: At Wit’s End (02/13/14)
By C D Swanson
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I was so frustrated that we couldn’t figure out what Mrs. Beckman wanted. It was the same thing since her admission two weeks earlier. I’d walk into her room, and she'd lift her hands to me and say, “red” continuously. I'd manage to calm her after several minutes, while I fervently searched my mind as to what “red” could possibly mean.
“Mrs. Beckman, I have to get going, but I’ll return later on…I promise.”
She nodded and lifted her hands before saying, “red.”
While sitting in my office chair, I wrestled with thoughts of “red” and what red could be.
Mrs. Beckman’s primary diagnosis upon admittance into the nursing home was chronic heart failure with a secondary diagnosis of post cardiovascular stroke. The stroke left her aphasic… the only word she could utter was “red.” The only family member was a second cousin who was older than her and lived two thousand miles away, so there was no hope in trying to contact this family member.
Red. I needed to figure this out or I’d never be able to live with myself. It obviously was important enough for her to keep mentioning it. Ironically, the only word she could utter, so it must be of major significance. I went to visit her before leaving for the night.
“Mrs. Beckman, may I come in?”
She nodded her head and smiled. “Red.”
“I know, Mrs. Beckman. I’m going to try and figure this out. Please, just nod yes or no for my questions okay?”
Nodding emphatically she smiled once again, before repeating, “red.”
“Is red a pet you’ve left behind perhaps?”
Her head shake was a definite no.
“A favorite dress or item at home?”
Again, a head shake indicating no.
I could see visible tears when she repeated red.
I grabbed her hand and whispered, “I promise I’ll figure it out Mrs. Beckman. However, for now, I have to go home for the evening. I'll be back tomorrow…in the meantime, I’ll pray for God to help me with this.” She began to nod quickly before kissing my hand.
On the drive home I began to think of all kinds of things, none of which jumped out to me with clarity. “Oh please heavenly Father, I want to bring her what she needs. I’m at my wit’s end and need Your hands of grace and Your wisdom in solving this mystery. What does “red” mean my Lord? What should I do to figure this out? It clearly means something to Mrs. Beckman. What does it mean Father? Guide me in Jesus name, Amen.
After dinner I kissed my husband goodnight and went to relax in our bedroom. In the solitude of the room I picked up my King James Bible and read a passage from Matthew 28:20, “…teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” It truly hit me like a ton of bricks!
“Sweetheart…I believe I know what Mrs. Beckman wants!”
“Where are you going?”
“I’m driving back to the nursing home.”
“Whoa! I’m going to drive you; I think you’re too excited to concentrate properly.”
“Come on, let’s go then!”
The drive seemed to take forever. The car barely came to a stop before I leaped out and ran for the front doors of the building.
“Jessica? What are you doing back—”
“Eddy, I need to get into the storage area.”
The maintenance man nodded, “Sure thing…let’s go.”
I went to the storage bin that belonged to Mrs. Beckman, “Thanks Eddy, I’ll take it from here.”
I went through each and every box methodically. There must have been over twenty-five total. As it turned out it was the very last one in which I found the treasure. I looked up to God and smiled before mouthing “thank you Father.”
Bounding up three steps at a time I literally ran to Mrs. Beckman’s room. I knocked on her door and with tears in my eyes; I held it up in the air before approaching her bed.
She nodded. “Red” and then kissed the object of desire I'd handed her.
“I told you I’d figure it out…but it was God who ultimately told me what it was you so desired. Praise His loving and Holy Name.”
She smiled at me as she caressed her worn but beloved red Bible…
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