Sunday, June 13, 2004

The Lord Giveth; the Lord Taketh Away

Ronald Reagan may have been most loved for his wonderful personality, his contagious laugh and his ability to see the good in every situation. For sure, he was a true and loyal friend to his friends and it wasn't hard to be his friend. Yet in his declining years, stricken with Alzheimer's, the light in his eyes which many of us loved, slowly dimmed. He couldn't even recognize his closest family members the last few years, calling his wife of 50 years "Mommy" as she faithfully tended to his needs.

I can't help thinking about Gram. In the same way, it seems her greatest strength and ability was taken from her as she entered her golden years. It pained me to see Gram confined to bed by the ravages of osteoporosis. She had always been such a doer - no task was ever too daunting for her. Whether it was refinishing furniture, painting a mural on the kitchen wall or dragging tons of garbage to the burn pile, she always found a way to do what she set her mind to. As she lay in bed, unable to do little more than watch TV, she dwelt not on what she could no longer do, but on what she could do. She could always give, and give she did until that very last Saturday when she hugged us all goodbye. A hug, a kiss, a smile, a word of advice or funny story - even a bit of cash on occasion - she never lost the power to give.

Morbid though it may be, I can't help but wonder what I'll be like if I live to the age Gram did. What abilities will be taken from me? Will I be blind and unable to devour books like I do now? Will I be bedridden, with no strength to tackle anymore projects? Or will I lose my ability to communicate with the ones I love? I don't dwell on these things but I do accept the fact that this body of flesh is "destroyed day by day." Truly the only hope we have is in Christ.

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