My mom was happy to see me. It had been months since we were together
We live on opposite sides of the continental USA. Mom has severe dementia and I’m never sure if she will know who I am when I fly in to see her. I thought my visits would be beneficial to her—I so wanted to encourage her and bless her! But as it turned out, she blessed me in showing me what it’s like to live in the present.
Mom doesn’t live in the past or in the future. She is very much in the present. After she finished her first chocolate chip cookie, I asked if she wanted a 2nd cookie. She said, “Did I already have a cookie?” And she went on to explain how delicious this cookie was and how she was enjoying every morsel. She relished each bite as if it were the first. “I haven’t had a cookie like this before.” Each fragment was a new adventure and one she relished.
My sister and I sat out on the screened in porch of the care center with mom. The sun was shining; the 70 degree Florida weather was delightful! Mom enjoyed watching the squirrel run across the outside roof, commented on the one hibiscus blossom and the warmth of the sun on her shoulder. Before we realized it, she was commenting on enjoying her porch, her flowers, and the squirrel she feeds daily. Carole and suddenly realized she was again very much at home in the present. There were no “should have, could have or ought to’s.” Although her own house was very different than the care center, she was “at home” with herself and with us. She seemed to be a contented innocent child.
I spend so much of my day preparing for the next day (teaching, vision-casting, etc.,) that I can easily lose that ability to be fully present. My husband has listened to me describe a perfect vacation, “One hour, one day, or one week when I don’t have to think about the next one.” Mom now lives in that on-going vacation. Oh, that I would.
As I was about to leave the center on the first day of my visit, I said, “Mom, I’ll see you again tomorrow.” She looked at me and said, “Oh really? Are you sure?” Obviously, none of us can be sure about tomorrow.
Proverbs 27:1 is pretty clear, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” Matthew 6:25-34 tells us we have no reason to worry about tomorrow: our lives, food or drink, our body, what we’ll wear… “Tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of is own.” I guess I am not really sure if I’ll see her tomorrow. Mom understands this better than I do. If I come, great. If I don’t, great. Mom will still be here (I hope) either way. If only I could be that content with what tomorrow might bring (or not bring).
The message from God through my mom was taking shape. The final paragraph came when mom spotted a tiny flower lying sideways inside a dirt-filled pot. She immediately began to enjoy its color, fragrance and form. We listened and encouraged her to pick it up and hold it. She declined, not wanted to damage it. Even after we identified it as a plastic flower she assured us that God made flowers and we could delight in his handiwork. Again, her ability to see beauty in the tiniest weathered artificial representation of the real thing was inspiring.