Saturday, August 15, 2015
Saturday, August 15, 2015
Mark 9:2-4, 7-9
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!’ Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.
It took three times before Ginny understood the most meaningful thing in her life. She lay in a low bed, half curled into fetal posture, eyes closed, dozing away what little is left of her life.
I had to look for her. She’d been moved to Silverado, a “memory facility” where all that is most human about us is lost. Looking for her room, I pass a man my age walking the hall in a diaper. He’s forgotten to put on his pants.
A hand waves wildly across the room. I am startled to see Anita, once my colleague, smart and professional, detailed to the point of annoyance. She recognizes me, knows my name, but little else. No longer can she string together a coherent sentence. Even her husband is lost in the foggy mist of her mind.
As for Ginny, she can barely stay awake to hear the end of my prayer. It wasn’t that long. Not long ago she’d receive Holy Communion every day if we could get to her. She was transported into intimacy with Christ each time.
A mystic in a nursing home bed, she would describe moments when she was aware of God’s loving presence pervading all things. Fall colors always moved her to know the Beauty who is the source of every beauty.
But not today. Today, it is only August. And I doubt autumn’s explosion of red … and gold … will awaken her mind to wonder this year.
Kneeling at her bedside, I ask if she wants communion. “I suppose I could call for that,” she says. But the third time the question finds its mark. “Yes, I would,” she says, and I quickly set up a tiny chalice and plate with the wine and wafer, setting them on the floor by my knees because there is no table or night stand.
I speak Christ’s words over the elements, and together we say the Lord’s Prayer. She still knows that. Soaking a wafer in wine until it is soft, I put it in her mouth and gently move her jaw until she remembers what to do.
Marking her head with the sign of the cross, I look down at my knees on the mottled brown carpet … then up … at the bare ceiling above Ginny’s bed … and begin to cry.
Is this what becomes of us? Is this what happens to all the love and beauty we know in our lives? If so, then for God’s sake we need to hold on … and treasure every blessed moment of love and grace that touches us.
But we don’t know what’s to become of us. None of us know.
But I do know this: The highest point of elevation for my soul is kneeling at Ginny’s bedside, looking up at the ceiling. I know … this is where God wants me. This is my mount of transfiguration … where the Holy One calls me … beloved.
Ginny, from one mystic to another … thank you.
Pr. David L. Miller