Missioner-in-training Valerie Ellis reflects on the powerful effect love’s presence has made on her in her relationship with a woman at her volunteer site.
I was offered a window into Angela’s* life. I saw a woman who looked much younger than ninety-seven. I heard of a life, just the inklings of understanding about a life, that seems well-lived. I found a woman with much joy for life. A woman who constantly proclaims that the Lord is good. A woman who sits close to the door for warmth, as the sun shines through the window. A woman who gazes at the window for hours at a time, wishing her body could keep up with her soul. A woman whose grandchildren come to visit her, whose grandson has just gotten engaged to be married. A woman who wants to enjoy her granddaughter-in-law, to know her, to know her grandson more fully. I met a woman with so many untold stories that I will never have time to hear them all.
I saw a different side of Angela the last time I was at my volunteer site. She sat listless in her chair, dozing in and out of consciousness. I heard of a different side of Angela, too. I heard that she kept volunteers up all hours of the night calling them a variety of names (of people they didn’t know) and talking about seemingly nonsense occurrences. As I watched Angela sleep, as I was concerned about the possibility that she might not eat that day, the thought struck me. I want to be at her funeral.
The word that came to me was love. It is amazing how in such a short time we can learn to love those around us. I felt God putting on my heart the emotion of love, and I was surprised to find anticipated grief, and concern to let someone know that I would like to be made aware, to be included in the celebration of this wonderful woman’s life. I hope that she has many more years ahead of her, and am counting my blessings that I have been gifted to share in her journey during my time in D. C.
*name changed for confidentiality