Being There

It happened thirteen years ago this summer.  I remember because it was the year my youngest sister gave birth to her eldest son.  He  has a cross-stitched quilt that my mom struggled to complete for him that last summer.  She knew she wouldn’t be with us much longer.

My mom had pseudobulbar syndrome, which destroyed her brain stem.  She struggled with it for twenty-eight years before the Lord took her to heaven.   The first time we knew there was a problem, she collapsed while at a convention with my dad.  The doctors thought it was a stroke.  It affected her speech.  I don’t remember that they gave her any therapy for it.  It was 1968, and medicine was much different then. My mom changed after that collapse, but although she was no longer the mom I had known, she was the only mom I had, and I loved her.

It was for that reason that I accompanied my dad to the hospital that summer thirteen years ago while Mom had some tests.  I don’t remember his ever saying so, but we both knew that Mom wouldn’t be with us much longer.  That day, I looked at my father over the top of the car after he got Mom in and asked what I could do.

His answer was quite simple.  He said,”Be there.”

I did my best, and I have always been thankful that I did.  I had two teenagers at the time, as well as a husband and a full-time job.  Being there involved some sacrifice for all of us.  My Mom died knowing that we loved her, and we knew we had done all we could for her.

The reason I bring this up now is because the daughter was harassed for wanting to come and check on me and my broken arm.  People told her that I had her dad and that it wasn’t even her place to come.

I might have agreed with that when I was younger.  You know–when you are young, you are invincible.  I think God meant my years in Indiana to be listening years, though, and one of the first things I remember hearing in a Bible study here was that you rob the body of Christ when you don’t let people help you.

Hmmm…

I pondered that one for a while.  Soon I was sick with rheumatoid arthritis, and I had more things to ponder.  My disease is pretty much under control now, but I wouldn’t say I took those early changes gracefully.

One day I was in one of those car washes where you get out before they take your car through.  At that point, getting out of a car was pretty difficult for me.  When I opened the door, there were rails right next to the car, and I had no idea how to position myself so that I could get out.

It was at that point that the car wash attendant, a young man who had one of those HUGE wooden circles in his earlobe, stepped up, smiled at me, and said,”Ma’am, would you like some help?”

And I let him help, which may not be a very big lesson for you, but it certainly was for me.

Back to the daughter.  Whoever told her that I had her dad and would probably be OK was right, in part.  I mean, the hubby and I are both adults.  Yet the daughter has physical therapy expertise, and I know we both felt better that she sat in the doctor’s office and listened with us.  It was the daughter–not the doctor–who told me to squeeze therapy putty with a vengeance to preserve the strength of my forearm.  Truth be told, she has been instrumental in her dad’s and my adopting a healthier lifestyle.  Besides, she wanted to be here.  Would I have been robbing her if I had discouraged her coming?

I think the daughter responded with love to my situation because she perceived a need.  I am doing the Beth Moore Bible study called Living beyond Yourself, and here’s how Beth describes this agape love:

Agape is not fueled by the desire of its recipient; it is fueled by the need.

The daughter responded to the need she perceived her father and me to have.  She gave up a day’s wage and drove 150 miles to get here. Not everyone’s circumstances permit them to do what she did, and what she did certainly involved sacrifice. I am convinced that she ministered to her dad and me as the Holy Spirit prompted her.

Being there.  It seems so simple, and yet I have been learning it for the past thirteen years at least.  Maybe it’s something you learn all your life.

Maybe you don’t master it on this earth at all.

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4 Responses to “Being There”


  1. 1 The Nephew July 19, 2008 at 9:52 pm

    Good for Jill! I wish I had ‘Been there’ a bit more myself…

  2. 2 titus2woman July 21, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    This was really beautiful to read!

    I found a comment you left me in October, and I don’t know what I was doing then to miss it! Anyway, you asked about what dishcloth pattern I was crocheting, and I have several I enjoy now. If you are still interested, shoot me an e-mail! (((((HUGS))))) sandi~titus2fam(at)yahoo(dot)com

  3. 3 writeathome July 22, 2008 at 11:48 pm

    Great post, Becky. Being there certainly does seem to mean so much more as we get older. This post reminded me of one of my favorite poems, and I hope you don’t mind me sharing it here. I may have shared it here before, because I seem to remember sharing it on someone’s blog, so please forgive me if it was yours.

    Tis THE HUMAN TOUCH in this world that counts,

    The touch of your hand and mine,

    Which means far more to the fainting heart

    Than shelter and bread and wine;

    For shelter is gone when the night is o’er,

    And bread lasts only a day,

    But the touch of the hand and the sound of the voice

    Sing on in the soul alway.

    SPENCER MICHAEL FREE

  4. 4 careann July 24, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    An excellent post… thankyou!


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