I landed here in this place through no fault of my own, but because my body no longer cooperates with what I want it to do. The only thing is, nobody has told me the rules. There are people who skim in and out briskly. They give me things but they are not my things.
It is morning now and I miss my coffee. My kitchen. I miss having the whole pot if I want it. I am given a plastic cup with coffee but it’s lukewarm. And weak. I have never drank lukewarm in my whole life, and I never drank it from a plastic cup. I can’t heat it so I leave it……but then I think maybe if I don’t drink it now I may not get it again. Grimacing, I drink it down.
I remember the days when I was mobile. I never thought about getting up and walking across the room, I just did it. I try not to be terrified. This feeling of helplessness is new and strange and I feel trapped. Things are in disarray here……plates left on tables, and no one asks me where I want to sit at breakfast they just push me to the table. What’s more, they don’t give us anything to drink with our food. It’s difficult to eat with nothing to wash it down. I ask them, and they bring it but by then my food is no longer hot. I look around and see if everyone looks as bewildered as I feel.
A dish of ice-cream at lunch sits melted. She is sitting too far from the table and she misses her mouth. He is fiddling with his napkin, tearing it into bits like shrapnel it falls to the floor.
Where am I? Where is the place I used to call home?
I miss my dog and cat. I can’t think where they are now, it hurts too much. Tears course down and I wish I had a Kleenex but I use my sleeve. How I would give anything to feel their soft fur under my hand, see the love and loyalty in their eyes. How they would comfort me here.
I told someone I needed to go to the bathroom but that was hours ago. I have been reduced to wearing those adult diapers. The ones I used to see on those awful commercials. I never thought I would have to wear these. They are soaked through. It’s been hours and still they don’t come.
I dread the time I will need a shower. That’s the worst. I try not to think about it much. In my room are things I know. They spark memories, good ones. I surround myself with those now. I say a prayer of thanks for those. They are like pearls on a string and my mind caresses each one. For many here memory draws no comfort. They only have today. In a way, I envy them.
I watch the staff and see their anguished faces. I don’t imagine they make very much money here. I wonder what they go home to. They sit in corners and huddle up in groups peering into their phones. And yet, I find compassion in some of those eyes. They don’t think they will ever have to be in a place like this. And yet in their eyes I see a helplessness also. We are not so different. When it’s all said and done, we are all doing the best we can.
Night is falling and I dream and it’s long ago and my Dad comes and I can walk again. We walk far, past the grounds, through big buildings and streets and I am free again. He is my rescuer again, just like when I was very small.
I awake and I forget where I am. There are shadows in the corners and unfamiliar sounds. Bumps in the night.
I turn over to find my Bible on the nightstand which comes from home and a warmth washes over me. My life lies between the pages and it rushes out to greet me when I open it. I am home. And in my mind flows free with the songs I learned in church so long ago. I am so thankful they have never left me.
I am not alone. My eyes fill with tears at the wealth of this knowledge and my being is flooded with that realization. Joy finds me.
I am not alone. The Holy Spirit whispers and I want to shout it out!
I marvel that it’s possible that I have something to give here. Something to teach them. Something that sorrow and years and weakness can never take away. Someone to introduce them to.
I breathe a prayer. “Make me your instrument, Lord. Even in this place.”
Soon I will be going Home.
A dream I had last night sparked this post, and when I read my Sarah Young devotional today, I was amazed. Here is part of that reading:
Some of the greatest works of my Kingdom have been done from sick beds and prison cells. Instead of resenting the limitations of a weakened body, search for My way in the midst of these very circumstances.