Monday, March 19, 2018

Language of Love

She speaks “Bless your heart” like a native. No discernible accent. She learned the language as a child and has spoken it ever since.

If I were to speak it, it would sound like a bad script rehearsal. I can’t fake it.

She doesn’t need to.

The love falls from her words as naturally as rain from the sky. As natural as grace. And the old and infirm welcome it just as naturally as she offers it.

I’ve never seen anything like it. Old people smile at her words like they’ve been in a strange land and they’re hearing their native language spoken for the first time in years.

They may have been in the good and able care of others, but at the same time they’ve been starved for the intimacy she offers them. They eat it up.

She listens. She listens even when it means getting real close so she can hear. And she asks them to repeat themselves if she doesn’t get it. She could fake it and nod. She doesn’t. She leans in closer. She holds an offered hand.

And so it was as she started helping to care for Marjorie this past year. She quickly became the brightest light in a life so small and cordoned off by age that it consisted mostly of one chair set in front of a picture window so that Marjorie could watch the bird feeder just beyond the glass. The books that used to entertain her became blank pages. The TV became noise.

But when she came into the room to clean it, she always took the time to sit with Marjorie for a while.
There was never much new to talk about, but that’s just another of her gifts – questions. She prompted years of retold memories to pass the long and previously empty hours.

You could find her in the room with Marjorie most evenings before leaving for home. She would be kneeling on the floor in front of Marjorie. They’d be laughing and talking and sharing, hand in hand.

Yesterday she went to Marjorie’s side. It had been a rough night before. In words I couldn’t summon if I had to, she leaned in real close to Marjorie’s ear and said quietly, “I love you Marjorie. I’m going to pray that angels might come to make your journey go easily. Tonight you’ll be in the arms of Jesus.” And then she bent forward and kissed Marjorie’s 98 year old lips – because that’s how they always say goodnight.

Marjorie nodded. And about an hour later she was with Jesus.

Who is this woman I married?

1 comment:

  1. A wise and caring woman is the answer to your question.