Your World

I am not quite sure how old you are, not that it really matters.  So far from me, yet just a few feet away, you rock back and forth on your chair, seemingly not aware of the world all around you.  Rhythmic tapping of your fingers on the wood of your chair, eyes half shut, saliva dribbling down on the front of your wrinkled blouse, teeth missing.  And you smell old. Deteriorated. In another world.

I kind of want to want to enter into your world, but I can’t see past the rhythmic tapping of your knotted fingers on the wood of your chair, and the smell, and the saliva dribbling down.  I want to want to reach out to you,  but I don’t think you hear, let alone care.

Yet you have a name, and a life woven with threads of love, and pain, and sweat, and broken dreams and hope.

You are just like me.  I hope I never become just like you.

Are you still inside this shell clothed in wrinkles and filled with pain, Olivia? What does your tapping mean?  What do you need, what do you want?

I force myself to reach my fingers to your almost transparent cheek.  You lift your arm and grab my fingers with your shaky hand, as though wanting to hold on to the life in me.  I gently weave my fingers with yours.  Your eyes open a bit.  In the silence of interwoven skin, we connect.  You let me in.  And in that holy moment of touching fingers, our very hearts become intertwined.

The rhythmic rocking of the chair back and forth has slowed, and the saliva doesn’t matter any more.  You smell like life, breakable, real, delicate. You are so beautiful.

My eyes well up with tears.  I want to tell you all that I feel, but my emotions choke the words.  I let my eyes do the talking. And then you start to cry as well.

You are just like me.  Maybe one day I’ll get to be just like you.

Cultivating Thankfulness with Ann Voskamp

#79 eyes that do the talking

#78 lessons on love 

#77 my teeth

#76 connecting with someone

Linking up with Beholding Glory, the Better Mom,  State of the Heart,  Seedlings in StoneHear it on Sunday, cup half full, Tell me a Story, Imperfect Prose, Life in Bloom  and Still Saturday

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40 comments

  1. I’ve been there so many times. You’ve captured my feelings and yearnings. Life is precious at all its stages, housed in the unique beauty that He created.

    Thanks for this, and for linking to Still Saturday.

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  2. How absolutely gorgeous that is!!! Last night, I took my ex-husband’s 80 year old Aunt to DuBois for dinner and had one of the most relaxing, relevant times of my Life.

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  3. So much of what is true in our lives and the lives of others. And to bless and be blessed in a stage of life such as this is a picture of physical and spiritual reality most of us don’t walk through frequently. You were a treasure; you treasured. “Good” combination.

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  4. This haunts me:

    “You are just like me. I hope I never become just like you.”

    Because my mother had Alzheimer’s, I often wonder if I will too. It’s one of those thoughts in the back (and sometimes front) of my mind that nags at me. I know the only way back to peace is trusting the Lord with it, knowing that even if I do become just like her, God will send someone to take care of me like I took care of my mom.

    Thanks, Barbara. A great post.

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  5. Beautiful. This post reminded me so much of my mother-in-law, whom we lost many years ago to Alzheimer’s. We are now preparing for my eldest son’s wedding, and I think of her often, hoping I can be as good a mother-in-law as she was to me.

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  6. Thank you for sharing at Tell me a Story. You have beautifully written about age and yet still reaching out for life.

    I understand and those who have watched as a parent or older friend seemed to loose contact with reality, will also understand. Most days my mother thought I must be a good friend. In her last days, she did not even open her eyes. She may have been napping, or closing her eyes, just shut out the rest of the world.

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  7. beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!!
    I’m better for having read these words. Thank you for exploring the wonder of such a moment so gracefully, yet truthfully, too.

    Blessings,
    Kara

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  8. Beautiful (as I wipe the tears from my eyes!). I work in a nursing home and see this everyday that I am out with the residents. The cherishing of life (then and now) and the knowledge or sense that someone cares (it could be a pat on the shoulder or a smile and hello) is priceless. Thank you!

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  9. […] This feeling sorry for myself, it has to stop. I have wasted too much time thinking about what I wish I was or had. I have wasted too many hours contemplating me, myself and I. And I have spent too little time involved in the lives of those who need to be touched with kindness, smiled at with love, melted with tenderness freely given. […]

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