A couple of weeks ago, I held a sweet, chubby little hand. It was the hand of my grandson, who lives far away and who I don't see often. I had the special treat of visiting with him and his family for an entire week. It was hard for me to say goodbye and return to the cold north.
Last night I held another hand. It was an old hand, a cool hand with fragile skin that displayed many marks of aging, yet in many ways it reminded me of the little hand. Mom was worried about many things last night, about how the rest of her life will go and I suggested we pray together before she went to bed. Together we prayed and I asked the Lord to give her a restful sleep. Then, together we prayed the Lord's Prayer and she seemed to relax as she recited that prayer she's known so long.
One week after I came home from my vacation in Texas, my life changed dramatically. I now live with my mother in her rural log cabin home. No one prepared me for this, but each day I look to Him and He gives me strength.
In Texas, my grandson and I walked up and down the streets in the neighborhood, in search of "treasures." In the same way, Mom and I walk slowly, her holding onto my arm whenever we go outside or on an errand. I hope she is learning to trust me, that I will look out for her in our new relationship of me caring for her.
She is weary and misses my Dad so much. It seems the only thing that really lights her eyes is to see my own grandchildren, her great-grandchildren. Two of them are close enough to come and visit, and the oldest of them was glad to snuggle with her on her recliner. Her great grandson whom I visited from far away said hello and that he loved her on Skype. How she loved to hear him tell her about his snail collection and watch him eat his lunch.
Little things charm my grandsons. Snails, acorn, dandelions, fish in a pond, chickens and tractors seem more important to them than fancy toys. It doesn't take much to keep them happy.
Oh, if we"grown ups" could also be that way, satisfied with the little blessings God bestows on us daily. Even though my life is uprooted, I do have all that I need as I take on this new role. God has promised it to me in the 23rd Psalm. "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." Late Pastor R.B. Thieme translated this Psalm 23:1 like this:
The LORD is the one who keeps on shepherding me, I cannot and do not lack anything.*
It is quiet and the days can be long, but Mom and I are getting to know each other in a new way. Laughter seems to keep us going when we disagree. Caring for her is a privilege, not a duty, I remind myself.
Just as I treasure my grandsons, I will treasure this time with Mom. Help me Lord, to honor mother and take care of her just as she once took good care of me.
*From the booklet, Psalm Twenty-Three, R.B. Thieme, Jr., R.B. Thieme Jr., Bible Ministries, 2007. (All material can be ordered from the ministry free of charge.)