Caring for the spirit...
The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of his being.
~ Proverbs 20:27
I have to admit, I'm a sucker for a good love story. Yesterday I met a man who has been married to his wife for 76 years. While in high school, he made friends with a classmate who invited him to come over after school to play ball. The classmate also shared that his mom made fresh cookies every day and had a nice cold glass of milk waiting after school.
He looked at me and said, "My mom never did that. My mom was one of those parents that had a list of things to do waiting for me when I got home."
After asking his mom several times if it would be okay to stop at the classmate's home, his mom agreed.
He looked at me and said, "If I knew that the first time I walked into his home I would smell fresh cookies and be introduced to the three most beautiful sisters I have ever seen in my life, I think I might have had more determination."
He went on to say that he knew the first day he visited the home that one of those girls would be his wife, and that he would become part of this family where their mom didn't just make fresh cookies. She absolutely poured herself into each of her children.
In a week's time he knew which girl would, "be mine."
"I didn't play a whole lot of basketball, but I sure ate a lot of cookies and drank a few hundred gallons of milk!"
As he turned and looked at that girl, now in her nineties and no longer able to open her eyes and smile, he began to sing to her and stroke her hand.
"What song is it that you are singing," I asked?
"Nothing really. Years ago my spirit just started making up songs that I would sing to her. Some days my songs would make her just smile, or even laugh. I wish I could see just one more of those smiles, but I know her spirit is still here, and her spirit is happy because it knows that it's about to be free."
What an encounter, and a sweet reminder that what we see as the body, is that which holds us to this place. For the man, he knows in all the years he has been with his wife, that even as she lay there unresponsive, he is caring for her spirit.
So much of what we know about life exists through the things we encounter each day, however, if we really consider our spirit, it is truly who we are and will continue long after this body takes a final breath.
I loved that he recognized the care for her spirit. He realized that even though she was no longer able to respond physically, her spirit continued to receive the outpouring of love from him.
I suddenly found myself remembering in Proverbs that we are reminded that the spirit of humanity is truly the light of God, and that this light can never be overcome. It is that light that continues to burn, even when our own body has given out.
It was an important reminder to me that the care for our spirit continues, even beyond this life into the next. What an amazing love story they have shared!
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2018
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Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.