Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: WAIT (08/30/18)
- TITLE: Renewed Joy at 93
By Donna Butler
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I've been visiting her for two hours every night for the past year. I've learned her mannerisms, her likes and dislikes. Her family depends on me to help keep her nightly routine. In the past few months she has become more forgetful. Reading and writing is becoming more difficult. I'm all too familiar with this process and the dreadful heartache of living with dementia. She once loved to sing... especially gospel songs. She is one of my most favorite ladies to visit although caregivers are told there are no favorites and we're not to get attached.
“How are you tonight Ms. Hazel”, I ask. Her voice cracks as she looks up at me and tearfully, softly replies, “I'm tired, tired of waiting.” I place my hand over hers on the edge of the chair and lean forward to kiss her cheek. “Tired of waiting for what?” I ask.
“Oh I just don't understand why He keeps me waiting down here. Why doesn't He want me with Him? I can't cook by myself, I can't remember to take my medication. Someone has to be here because I can't shower by myself and I haven't played that dusty ole piano in years. Now I can't even drive myself to church anymore. That's what the doctor told my daughter today. Can you believe it? I can't drive myself to church anymore? Without church I'm not worth a dime to myself or anyone else!”
“Now Ms Hazel, that is not true. You manage your flower gardens and tend to your laundry and keep things tidy in your home. You have plenty of friends who come by and visit. You are worth more than a million buckets of dimes to your daughter, your grandchildren, to me and to everyone who knows you. Besides, we both know that God is not done until He's done! He must still have work for you to do so no sense lamenting about the “wait. Just keeping doing good while waiting.” She smiles when I tell her I will drive her to church.
On Sunday we arrive and find a seat near the front of church. Suddenly her daughter approaches and slides in beside us.
“Mom”, she whispers. “Ms. Joan has taken ill and Pastor Ed is looking for a replacement.”
“No! No! No!” she shakes her head in refusal. “I haven't played in over five years, not since Ms. Joan took over and I don't even remember how."
Her daughter turns to me to explain how beautifully her mother played piano and sang all her life. Until one day five years ago, out of the blue, she announced she was quitting. She said she is tired and going to spend the rest of her days just waiting for God to take her home.
“Oh Mom, you never lose the gift God gives you. You can still play and sing if you will let yourself! Please Mom, Pastor Ed is hoping you will take your place at the piano. He's waiting for you to start the song...Jesus Hold My Hand.”
I remind her of our conversation, “Remember Ms. Hazel, while waiting, we can and must continue to do good.”
The church fell silent as Ms. Hazel approached the piano. Her aged hands trembled as they moved across the keys, familiar yet unfamiliar. Within seconds a perfect melody rose up echoing of praise to the Lord as her angelic voice penetrated the ears, the hearts of those in attendance....all on their feet in joyful song. Truly glorious.
After church I joined Ms. Hazel at the piano where several parishioners gathered to thank her for the beautiful song. Her eyes filled with tears as she turned and thanked me for reminding her of the joy she had been missing out on. The joy in doing good while waiting. Pastor Ed asked her to play every Sunday and without hesitation she accepted. She played faithfully and joyfully until the Lord called her home three years later.
“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 NKJV)
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