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Because of You
A Heart Turned to Truth
Because of You"Several years ago my drinking brought my family to the bring of despair."


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The Gift of Life

Barbara is in her 30s and third trimester of pregnancy. She is visiting her mother, who is in a nursing home and uses a wheelchair. Mother is sitting in her room, caught up in her thoughts.

BARB: (Entering the room and seeing her mother) Mama? Mama?

MOTHER: (Looking at her) Well, I know that face.

BARB: We just pulled in. Andy's taking the kids to get something to eat and then they'll be over. I came right up.

MOTHER: Mmmmhmmm.

BARB: Mom, the nurse told me you haven't eaten anything for a week, you won't drink and you won't take any of your medicine.

MOTHER: That's right.

BARB: Mom, that's crazy. You're going to die if you do this.

MOTHER: Well, that would seem to be the point.

BARB: But why?

MOTHER: (Changing the subject). You seem out of breath. (Indicating the chair). Here, sit down. Should you have come with the baby this far along? Didn't they say you needed to be careful?

BARB: I'm okay. You wouldn't talk to me on the phone, so I needed to come. (Silence) Mom, why are you doing this?

MOTHER: Isn't it obvious?

BARB: What is obvious?

MOTHER: That I'm to the point that this body is all but useless. There's just no need for me to be here anymore.

BARB: Mom, that's not true. We need you. You've got two grandchildren who can't wait to see you. You have a third granddaughter on the way. I need you.

MOTHER: Need me to do what? Baby-sit the children? Bake them the special things a grandmother's supposed to make? Help you in a pinch? There's nothing you need me for that I can do and it's only going to get worse.

BARB: Mom, the kids don't care about all that. They just want you to be their grandmommy. They want to hear you tell stories. You can read to them. You can….

MOTHER: If you were sitting here day after day, you'd know why I'm doing this. When I was your age I never for a moment thought I'd end up like this. You remember when you were kids how I used to rearrange all the furniture while your dad was at work just because I wanted to. Or the Thanksgiving dinners I'd make for our family and the whoever at church didn't have somewhere to go. Remember that time we had to have a stepladder at the table for someone to sit on since we'd used every chair in the house?

BARB: I do, Mama. You were amazing. But, you know what? It wasn't your cooking that made that such a special time, it was your heart. The way you welcomed everyone and made them feel like they had a place.

MOTHER: That was another life.

BARB: No, Mama, it was your life, and it still is. You may not be able to do the things you once did, but you still have your heart. Even now you can still make a difference. Can you hear me?

MOTHER: I don't want to be here anymore. I want to be gone from this, and I'm hoping it will be soon.

BARB: So this is what you're deciding.

MOTHER: If I can't do anything else, I can at least do this. Better for you to use the money that's going into this place for your children. Now that would be doing something.

BARB: Why? You're upsetting me, so I'm saying goodbye! (She picks up her purse. She can't take anymore and starts to go). Do you know what I pray with Annie and Emily every night?

MOTHER: I have no idea.

BARB: We say a little prayer that I taught them. Dear Lord, Thank you for this day for it is a good gift from you. Every minute was a gift from you. Thank you for loving me so much that you watch over me and never leave me nor forsake me. Amen.

(Mother remembers this prayer).

BARB: You know where I learned that prayer? (Mother is silent). From you. You used to pray it with me. And now I pray it with my girls. And I teach them the Bible verses you taught me. And we sing the little songs you taught me. All these things, Mama, came to my heart from your heart and now to my little girl's heart.

BARB: You're right. There's not much you can do now that you think has value. But if you could stand here and see from my perspective, you'd realize that you are of value. Every minute of your life is still a gift. Mama, I love you so much. Please. . .let the Lord decide when you're done. This just isn't the way to go. I'd so much rather see Jesus take you home in style.

MOTHER: (This has connected, but doesn't know how to respond). Oh, you drive me crazy sometimes. You know that? You just won't give up. Who taught you to be like this?

BARB: You did. I'm going to go find Dan and the kids. . .(Knowing now there's a window of hope) and I'll be back.

MOTHER: (Referring to the nursing home) Well, I'll still be here.

BARB: (Referring to her life) I'm glad.

Carol Anderson Shores works with Acts of Renewal in Greenville, SC. (828) 669-8428.

Carol Anderson

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