by Bonnie Ferris, a Listen to My Life Listening Group Facilitator
I knew it wouldn’t be easy as time went on, but at the time it was exciting. We were moving from a townhouse with no real dining room to hold our growing family to a rambling ranch on an acre of ground in a pocket of country where my husband and I would share a home with my aging mother and father. We were making a commitment for the rest of their lives. That was seven years ago, and things are changing. The couple who parented me are becoming my ‘little ones’ and I feel like a mother hen looking out for her young who are sometimes confused, and yet, not. They know what’s happening, too, and we simply love into the reality that this is how it is as we sense the end coming near. We don’t know when the end will be or just what it will look like, but we know it’s coming.
Delicate and fragile, I take mom’s small, gnarled hand in mine as we unhurriedly make our way to the mailbox. I can feel the gentle bumps of the arthritic joints, taking care not to hold too tightly. It becomes a poignant metaphor as I am keenly aware of my inner struggle between lovingly letting go, grateful for all that those hands have given me for all of my life so far, and the desire to hold on for dear life because the pain of loss will be too great. I’m simply not quite ready. It’s similar to walking with one of my grandchildren, we take notice of the birds chirping, pausing to look up into the tree to spot it perched on a branch. We notice the pleasing fragrance of the lilacs blooming, and my sweet mom will once again reveal her Irish roots as she comments on the ‘many shades of green.’ We notice it all, not taking one small detail for granted, cherishing the present. ‘We need to live for now,’ she has always proclaimed. She has taught me to be grateful. For that, and for her, I truly am.
God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.
Even when the way goes through Death Valley,
I’m not afraid when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook
makes me feel secure. Ps. 23:1-4 MSG
Question to ponder:
What might you do today to slow down and notice life in full detail?
Father, There is no detail in my life that goes unnoticed by you. Help me to be more aware of the ways in which you are reaching out to me with your love. Amen