As I help my mother get dressed, I look at her misshapen body, thinking, That’s what I’ll look like in twenty-two years. It is not an encouraging thought. I’m disappointed enough with my 60-year-old body now.
“I’m so ashamed that you have to help me like this,” she says, adding, “I don’t know what women do without a daughter.”
Lord, please take me quickly when you’re ready and don’t let me ever get like this, I pray.
I think it’s an unselfish prayer, but maybe not. One thing is sure—I do feel valuable to her. She’s right—she couldn’t do this alone.
In that thin place I see a reason the elderly are still with us, unable to care for themselves, and babies are born in need of special care, and young men become paraplegic in their twenties. They are sacrifices to our needs to grow as individuals. They bring us out of ourselves, so that we become much more than we ever thought we could be. They learn humility through their situations; we learn humility through our service.
I am truly grateful that my career schedule has freed me to help my children and my mother. Maybe wanting to die quickly would rob my family of what I am gaining through these experiences. Or is that in itself a selfish justification for holding onto life? I love my life, but I’ve never wanted to cling to life regardless of my capabilities. I want to live fully and die boldly, but gain perception daily, as at this moment.