Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The lights are growing dim

On a recent visit to my 89 year old mother, I noticed a note she had written to herself on an index card.  It read, "Today is Wednesday."  Those are the things that break your heart. It's never easy to watch the lights grow dim in someone's mind. 

At 89, she's still in remarkably good physical health.  She's crippled a bit from some falls, dependent on a walker or wheelchair to move about but she still doesn't take any daily medication (if you don't count the nightly laxative!)  She's still capable of living alone with minimal assistance in the house that's she's called home for more than 60 years.  But her memory continues to fade.

She struggles to remember the day of the week or a common word that she would use in conversation.

The lights are growing dim.  

She frequently forgets who came to visit her yesterday or even the name of the person with whom she spoke on the phone today.

The lights are growing dim. 

She can still recite her favorite poem, "The Raggedy Man" by James Whitcomb Riley, but confuses the names of my two sons. 

The lights are growing dim.

But I'm reminded that even as the theater house lights go down at the final act of the play, the house lights come up again when the cast takes it's final bow.  There is a curtain call and the audience applauds.

I think it was Danish philosopher and theologian Soren Kierkegaard who said something to the effect that in the play of life and worship, you and I are the actors, our spiritual leaders (pastors) are the directors but God is the audience of one (One). 

When the lights finally go out on the play that is my mom's life, they will surely come back on at the curtain call and she will receive an ovation from the only audience that really matters. Knowing that, it's just a little easier to watch the lights growing dim.

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