We buried my Mom yesterday. She was 99 years old.
Up until the last year of her life, her main difficulties were physical ones. But the last twelve months had seen an increase in loss of memory and comprehension—a tough battle for a lady as mentally sharp as Mom. Even when you’re nearing the century mark, no one wants to lose pieces of their life that become fragmented in the fog of growing dementia. That was her toughest struggle of all.
During the winter months of her battle, I was signing books at a Christian bookstore a distance away. During one of my breaks, I sauntered around the selection of gifts when my eyes were drawn toward a small ceramic bird. I focused on the inscription, which read, “Every Day is a gift from God.”
I picked up the precious reminder and brought it to the cash register. This was a gift worth purchasing for Mom.
When I presented it to her on Valentine’s Day, her face lit up. “Thank you for the reminder,” she said with eyes that revealed so much. It’s difficult to consider the hours spent in discomfort, loneliness, and confusion as a gift. Yet even the moments of pain can become a blessing as our compassion for others in need is nurtured and our appreciation for heaven is heightened. These are the gifts of glorifying God that—while we do not understand the whole picture on this side of heaven—require our trust as our faith in Him is strengthened.
I often think of my crossstitch needlework when pondering life’s woes. While on the front is a beautifully wrought design, the underside is pocked with strands of tattered thread that look unattractive and frayed. God’s view is the finished piece of artwork while all we can see on this side of heaven is the battered and broken underside.
Yet God is creating His masterpiece.
After Mom’s funeral yesterday, I saw one of my mom’s dear friends—a precious lady with a keen mind and a crippled body from polio that she had years ago. My mom loved her and she cherished Mom in return. I had picked up Mom’s ceramic bird after she passed away and placed the gift in my purse. It was still nestled in my pocket book so I reached in and wrapped my fingers around the precious reminder that had ministered to my mom.
“Here, Carol.” I placed the bird in her hands. “I think my Mom would have wanted you to have this.”
Her eyes melted in appreciation. “Thank you.”
“Thank you for being her friend,” I said, my own eyes welling.
The gift of a friend—one of God’s many comforts as we face the trials of each day. As we each draw closer to Him, and our own eternity.