My granddaughter Zoe spends more time thinking about spiritual matters then the typical six year old, but having a mother who is a minister and a father who is a Christian author has informed her theology at a young age. Three years ago, when asked what God looks like, she answered, She has a big, beautiful face. She also announced that Jesus likes birthday parties, and after a Good Friday service she said that her heart broke into two pieces for Jesus. I hated the thought of her feeling so sad, but the fact is that broken hearts are a part of life. (more…)
Posts tagged ‘Jesus’
Christmas involves a lot of decisions: which friends and relatives to visit or to invite, which family favorites to put on the menu, and which loved ones to put on the naughty list and which ones go on the other list. Today, on the first day of the New Year, most of the visitors have gone home, most of the leftovers have been eaten or thrown out, and most of the gifts have been put away. Still, there are decisions to be made. (more…)
Christmas is a time of tradition. By definition, tradition is the transmission of customs from generation to generation, but as anyone who has raised children knows, each generation feels a need to put its own stamp on any custom passed on by the previous generation. As a result, while Christmas is a time of tradition, it is also a time of change. Here are a few of them.
In my lifetime, I’ve seen a lot of changes in the Christmas tree. First, the natural evergreen gave way to the flocked tree which was covered by some kind of fluffy concoction that mimicked the appearance of snow. Next came artificial trees. Thankfully, the aluminum ones that were spotlighted with a spinning color wheel were short-lived, but the first plastic ones weren’t much better. They were made of a green material similar to what is used on the end of party toothpicks, and they shed needles almost as badly as the natural trees. Artificial trees have since evolved to the point that it’s hard to tell them from the real thing except that you don’t have to water them, and they don’t begin to droop after a week or two. Having perfected the tree itself, manufacturers have moved to the next level by adding fiber-optic lighting that eliminates the tangled mess of lights that never all work at the same time. (more…)
Even in the later stages of Alzheimer’s, many people still respond to music.
Ours was a musical family, and many of our gatherings included a hymn sing around the piano. Mom and I liked to stand together so we could harmonize, and sometimes we had our own singing sessions seated side by side on our piano bench at home. When she and Dad came to live with David and me, we took them to church with us every Sunday where, once again, she and I sang side by side. She struggled with some of the contemporary choruses, but she remembered the old hymns.
The senior adult ministry at our church had a monthly luncheon that always included some sort of entertainment. Once in a while that took the form of a hymn sing, and one afternoon, someone requested “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” It was one of “our” songs, one of the first songs we sang together. As we sang, our eyes met, and just for a moment, her eyes cleared and my mother was there, as she had been before Alzheimer’s. It didn’t last long. As the clarity faded from her eyes, she continued to sing, but I couldn’t make a sound past the lump in my throat. A couple of years later, there was another hymn sing, but Mom didn’t show up. She was physically present, and she sang along, but she stumbled over some of the words, and when our eyes met, there was no clarity.
Later, when Mom moved to assisted living, I spent a lot of my visiting time just sitting with her. One afternoon we were in the common area, and the TV was on one of the Gaither Gospel music shows. Without conscious thought, I started singing along, and Mom joined in. Her words were garbled and incoherent except when she came to the word “Jesus.” There was no connection between us, but every time Jesus’ name came up in a song, she smiled and sang out clearly and with conviction.
Her love of music continued to the end. When my brother played his guitar for her, she clapped in rhythm of hummed a line of harmony. When she passed away, the staff who took care of her sent a card with personal notes scribbled inside. One said “I’ll never forget dancing with her and listening to her hum to the songs at church.” Mom loved music, and she loved Jesus. Alzheimer’s didn’t stand a chance against that combination.
A LONG AND WINDING ROAD: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos
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During my time as a caregiver, there were days when I didn’t think I had the physical strength to help Mom into and out of the tub and then go through all the bending and twisting required to help her bathe and dress. There were days when I didn’t have the emotional strength to face the blank look on her face or Dad’s when I asked what once had been a simple question. Most of all, there were days when I didn’t have the strength of character to lovingly answer the same question fifteen times in as many minutes. Those were the days when I depended on the source of my strength, claimed the promise in Isaiah 40:31, and remembered a song I sang as a child.
Jesus loves me, this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong,
They are weak, but He is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me.
Yes, Jesus loves me.
Yes, Jesus loves me.
The Bible tells me so.