Yesterday: I went over to a dear friend's house for lunch with her and her grandparents, whom she lives with. Her grandma is in the late stages of Alzheimers...and after lunch my friend asked me to sit down at the piano to play through the hymnals for grandma. I can't really explain the many emotions that went through each of our heads.
First, I saw my buddy...here she is, a woman in her late twenties, selflessly living with and taking care of her grandparents. She prepared lunch for all of us, walked her grandmother to the table, fed her the meal between her own bites, and continued to give of herself as she sang along wholeheartedly with the music. For her, to then see her grandma, who seldem utters more than a few words, to sing entire phrases and stanzas of ancient spiritual lyrics, she was BLESSED. She was fed.
Then I saw the grandma, and having seen my own grandmother battle the mind and body-killing disease as well, she's "gone" according to societal standards. But I can't help but think that the spirit, the SOUL of a person continues to live on past that which the mental and physical can express. I believe that Jesus heard her songs yesterday, as she expressed the deepest part of her heart in the only way she - literally - could.
And as I sat there myself, I didn't really know what to do with the situation. There's the part of me that acknowledges that I've been given a gift of music, and knowing that it's okay to admit that, I'm led to believe that those gifts should be used for a greater good. But as I sat there at the (beautiful!) baby grand yesterday, it more importantly a moment of SOUL for me. My eyes filled with tears as I heard her hum and sing along at times, and then utter a lilting "ohhh!" at the end of a songg. There's also that part of me that's brought back to the good-bye with my own grandmother, five years ago. My sister and I drove to Nevada City at the end of a summer at Frontier Ranch to see Grandma Mac one last time. She couldn't talk. She couldn't communicate. She couldn't feed herself...and she didn't know who we were, at all. I remember sitting in front of her, afraid to talk or communicate myself, because I knew I'd cry if I opened my mouth. So I didn't say anything. I never said good-bye outloud, yet only in my heart. ... Yesterday was a day of healing for me; yesterday in playing for this grandma, I was saying good-bye to my own.
It was a powerful afternoon.
Today: It starts with myspace a month ago. I got a message from "C" who simply said this: "You don't know who I am, but I just wanted to say that I'm sorry for always being so mean to you when you tried to be my friend during lunches last year at Mt. Baker. I just wanted you to know that." Wow! So here we were a month later, having coffee together at Starbucks. As I listened to the story of the here and now in "C's" life, it was pretty cool hearing how she's been given an entirely new start and is CHOOSING to live as such. Crap happens in each of our lives...and we can choose to hang on to it, bitter to the sucky curveballs we've been thrown, or we can choose to do something about it. So here she is, a freshman in high school, starting over...and for her that meant starting over by being nice to people. (She's almost like My Name is Earl in the real life 14-year old female sense...)
But here's what AGAIN got me about our conversation: "So Cara," she asked, "why did you keep coming to Mt. Baker [her middle school] even when everyone was so mean to you? I mean, I was mean to you, but there were people who were even worse!" What do you say to that? ... And I realize that it's not my job to be liked...it's not my job to make them want to be my friend...my job is to try and be this fleshy Jesus-like person to them who loves them regardless of what they think of me. (Later, she had a rather hard time dropping that "everyone hated you" part of the conversation, and according to her lunchtime conversations with her peers, I'm too happy, preppy and nice for them...).
And I tell you, I don't always get this thing called ministry. I don't get why I'm in the thick of it...but when something like this happens, I begin to get a twinge of thankfulness and a bit of understanding why I do what I do. As we left Starbucks, I didn't know whether to be encouraged by the encounter or mystified at my own complete lack of coolness with the under-15 crowd. (The self-esteem reminder, "It doesn't matter what a 14-year-old thinks of me" comes to mind...). But I know that it's where I'm supposed to be for the time being. And I know that I'm encouraged and supported by people who DO believe that this is where I'm supposed to be, even if I don't always see it (and that something like a Starbucks' date with "C" wouldn't have happened had it not been for financial donors!).
yes. Many musings. That's all.