Setting a Proper Table
By Shirley A. Reynolds
Sitting on a metal chair, I watched my father tend to my sick mom. He combed her thin hair, washed her hands and put her Rose lotion on her arms. Then he read to her from his Bible. Mom's heart was wearing out, and she had contracted Pneumonia. The doctors told us that she probably wouldn't recover.
Mom didn't know who I was. Her only daughter. So, I watched Dad as he spent time with her. I was amazed at the love he bestowed upon his wife.
Then, Harold came into the room to see his wife. I'd been introduced to him through Dad, and he greeted each of us with a hug. He was here to see his wife, who was my mother's roommate. As I watched Harold prepare to spend an hour with his wife, I was overwhelmed with God's mercy.
He brought in a small table, a hurricane lamp, a fine tatted doilie and a Bible. He was dressed in a pin striped suit, befitting for a dinner out on the town. He wore an overcoat, which he hung carefully on a hook in the room. Then, with careful consideration, he placed a lacey doilie on the table, and set the lamp on the side, placing the Bible on the left side of the table. Then, he greeted his wife.
I watched as he patted her cheeks and placed her hands outside the covers. She was a beautiful woman, in spite of her stroke, that had left her in a coma. She could not speak, but Harold talked to her, as if it was a special occasion. Then, he began to read from Isaiah. I cried, when he read -- "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak." Though he couldn't carry on a conversation, he continued to talk to her, telling her about their family and all the grandchildren's antics.
I listened to both men, as they spent time with their loved one.
I began to understand how God works in our lives. When we cannot pray, or formulate a word that is so badly needed, God is there to help. When we cannot figure out what the best choice in a situation should be, God is there to intervene. And, when we are in the midst of hardships, when our loved ones are struck with a debilitating stroke, God is there to give us strength.
Wow. Maybe my mother didn't know me, but I could do something. I stood and walked over to her bedside and held her hand. I wasn't sure of the response I'd receive, but it didn't matter. So, I said, "Mom, I love you."
There was no reply. But, God knew, and I betcha he smiled.
Like Harold, who set his table the same way every night he came to visit, turning on the hurricane lamp and talking about the beautiful colors in the lamp shade. Simple things, but Godly things. My father smiled when I approached mom, and that was enough for me.
Copyright © 2013 Shirley A. Reynolds. Used by permission.
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Shirley A. Reynolds is a freelance writer living in Boise, Idaho, and has been published with Chicken Soup for the Soul, Bible Advocate, Now What? and many other magazine publications. You might find her riding her ATV through the back country, or walking beside a quiet stream. She loves to photograph animals and nature. On Sunday morning, she teaches a group of elementary children.
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