Yesterday while poking around the bike shop, I couldn't help but think about how fortunate I am to be old and healthy. I was taking my bike in for a last minute tune up before the MS Ride in New Bern. If you've ever hung around bikers, you'll notice how they are all so fit. This is my first ride! Yet, another new challenge which has become an evident way of coping. While I was waiting, I felt such freedom in asking stupid questions, trying on those strange bike shorts, checking out the padded gloves so my hands don't go numb, etc. See, being old and a beginner, is liberating in that I don't have to pretend or care about my image. That's what Alzheimer's disease has done for me.
Once the bike was finished, Montana and I drove on over to see Jerry. From fitness to finished. What a difference. I can't help but get weepy at the injustice of it all. Here I am healthy and there is Jerry, taken at such an early age. But, you know what? It was good.
Life is so much more than just me...or Jerry. It's about passion and purpose and honor. It's about loving with an extraordinary love. Kind of like those faithful furry friends of ours who stay by our side and wait us out.......but so much more.
The days of Alzheimer's disease have, in so many ways, been excruciating to watch. Yet, the revelation of God's mercy has overshadowed the difficulties.
Then, I was reminded in 2 Peter 3: 8 how "with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day." With that perspective HE is not slow to answer….it is WE who are impatient to wait on his promise.
Extraordinary is merciful love, gracious love, sacrificial love, compassionate love. Seriously we need more of it! We need to give more of it! (ENOUGH OF TODAY'S SERMON.)
ANYWHO......back to Jerry. When I walked back through those doors, I peeked around the corner and back to the family room but couldn't see him. Those beautiful people, toothless, balding, slumped over...but who's eyes brighten and wave when they get a visitor....THEY are the reason we keep on keepin' on. They are the reminders of how to love and to love unconditionally. Not the beautiful, or the rich, or the fit, or the funny, or the clever, or the intelligent......it's those who are stripped of it all down to their core being. That's where I see God showing us how to love. And when I look deep into Jerry's eyes, I see eternity.
As I came back out of the family room, I turned and saw my beautiful Jerry walking toward me. There he was tall, fluffy clean hair, wearing a soft blue golf shirt. The closer he got, the faster he walked...arms outstretched and eyes wide open. I cry every time! This is love in it's purest form. I stretched out my arms, skipped over to him and threw them around his little body. Sometimes I squeeze so hard that I hear a grunt. Loosening up a bit, out of the corner of my eye I could see two heads peeking around the corner of the dining room. There were two aides, anticipating the reunion, watching...all smiles. Warm fuzzies abounding and lovies radiating around the room. (a few misty eyes too...good misties....feel good misties).
Life is rich and good. It really is.