I have the great blessing of calling on the shut-in saints in our church family. I know our pastors would dispute this, but I think I have the most fulfilling ministry in our church. In what other ministry can you bring so much joy, just by showing up? I have accumulated a treasure chest of golden moments that I will cherish forever with saints like Carolyn Sellers. The downside is we become good friends and then all too soon they graduate to a higher realm. Carolyn graduated this week. Her 85-year-old mind, ravaged by an awful disease, has worn completely out and she now dwells in a mansion not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. I called on her for four years, till the virus struck, passing through two digitally locked doors of the dementia ward to get to her room. I don’t think she ever knew my name. I’ve never known her any other way, but that wisp of a woman has a special place in my heart. I always introduced myself and included our church name—familiar words to her, I think—and she responded with the sweetest smile in loving tones, “Oh Hi!” It was as if she had been eagerly waiting my arrival. Early on she’d ask multiple times each visit, “How’s Pastor Cook?” (our long retired beloved pastor).  That was about as long as her sentences ever got, and they were usually in response to my questions. As her memory and vocabulary continued to decline I discovered that hymn lyrics and her favorite scripture passages could be dredged up with a little prompting. She had been a longtime choir member and we sang her favorite hymns unaccompanied (I had to guess what they might be, which is not hard for an old school Presbyterian). You would not want to have heard us, but the light came back into her eyes and the appearance of awareness and understanding. She looked angelic when she sang. When reciting scripture I would look right into her eyes and they would start to sparkle as I spoke and she would join in within 3 or 4 words and sometimes run ahead of me with enthusiasm till she hit a blank, then she’d pause and wait for me to catch up and lead the way, then take off again.  Then I would hold her delicate hand and pray for her. When I departed she always said, “Thank you for coming,” and it never sounded just polite. As long as her ability to communicate lasted, her sweet personality persisted. In an extended end all my efforts to get a response failed—she was bedfast and mute, her eyes open but as unseeing as a baby doll’s. I would read her Scripture and pray anyway, and trust in the Holy Spirit to do the rest. I confess I sometimes wept as I walked back to my car.  

Our Sovereign Lord works in ways beyond our comprehension—His ways are not our ways—but His promises are sure and His cross proves his infinite love. Carolyn sees perfectly now. She’s more lucid than she has ever been, and she smiles and sings her favorite hymns with great joy in the bosom of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and it will never end.

“Blessed are those who die in the Lord…” (Revelation 14:13). Amen.

See you in church.

One Response to “LUCID AT LAST”

  1. Paul Says:

    JD, You sometimes wept as you walked to your car. I wept reading your post… you seem to have that affect on me. What wonderful story. Thanks as always. BTW, I think you’re the saint in this and every “Cogitation”. PO

    Sent from my iPhone



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