So I'm sitting in a hospital room next to my poor demented mother. It's been nothing if not exciting since I got here...well, I suppose it depends on what your definition of exciting is, actually. She talk nonstop, even when her eyes are closed and she's snoring--which is a trick I wouldn't have believed if I wasn't sitting right next to her. She's tried to get out of bed every few minutes, or works her fingers against the blankets, and a half an hour ago, announced in a completely coherent sentence, "My gown is wet!" And indeed it was, because she'd somehow managed to take off the Depends she's been wearing since she pulled out her catheter. Yep, quite an afternoon, and I've only been here three hours. She wasn't responding to "Mom," so I tried her name, which my sister told me she'd answered to yesterday, but when I tried it, she said, "Call me Mommy." Well, I'm willing to do a lot for her these days, but I draw the line at changing her wet gown or calling her Mommy. The nurses who don't know her are happy to do the work they're paid for, and I'm so thankful to let them. They find her incoherence somewhat endearing. I find it just plain incoherent. I guess, like most things, this day all depends on your point of view--and especially whether the Depends are where they should be!
I was thinking about the ministry of being this afternoon as I sat here, the very real Kingdom work that happens just by being present. This is what I'm doing here, sitting with my mother at the end of all her days. She has as much trouble understanding my direct statements as I do following her incoherent ramblings, so the most I can do is simply be here, listening to her (or not, honestly), able to answer when something clear gets through. One of her common statements is, "I wish I could just go upstairs." By this she means she wants to flee the sorry old bag of broken bones her body and brain have become, and climb into a new body in heaven. She very much wants this now, and...I very much want it for her. It's a very sad thing that the end of a life should be so splintered. My sitting with her, my being present in her pain (the pain she doesn't quite know she feels, though it makes her agitated and anxious) is what I have to give. My sitting here is my way of praying for her last days here, and praying for--hopefully, please God--her home-going.
It is well with my soul to pray such things. And I'm glad of that. There have been times in my life--many, many long seasons--when I wouldn't have dared to pray such things, when such a prayer would have been for my release, rather than hers. But today as I sit here, watching her snore, listening to her sleep-talking, I can breathe her hopes with her, believing that the best that life has to offer her now, will come when she goes home to the dwelling God has for her in the mansions of heaven.