The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.Psalm 119:130 KJV
May was so lonely. Trapped inside a mind that could not find rest. After her husband passed away, May was placed in the nursing home where I worked. Her children never came to see her. She had a diagnosis of both dementia and schizophrenia. The nursing home staff would often have trouble getting May to comply with their requests. This would lead to frustration on everyone’s part! May needed love and patience! Most people do not have either of those things to spare! So many vulnerable people like May are out there. People with so much to offer us, to teach us!
I was blessed to have four years to get to know May! During that time I was able to piece together the snippets of her life that she shared with me. She had been raised by a Christian grandmother. A grandmother who saw to it that May went to church and learned about Jesus and the Bible. This firm foundation that was laid in May’s heart at such a young age would stay sure until the end of her life. Despite her numerous mental battles and struggles, the light of Christ would shine out of May’s darkness- changing my life forever!
I can hardly bare to speak of May without becoming overwhelmed with emotion. It was no big deal to me that May never knew my name or that she did not always recognize who I was! The fact that she always knew the Word of God is what stirred my heart and served to increase my faith!
Now, don’t get me wrong, May was not one of those affectionally always happy people! More often than not, I would find her sitting in her wheelchair grumbling to herself or responding angrily to the voices that constantly seemed to torment her. To aid in snapping her out of one of these episodes I learned to bend down in front of her so we could see each other eye to eye. From this vantage point I would greet her and begin reciting the gospel of John chapter 1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…”
Before I could get to the first “and” May would begin to recite those beautiful verses of scripture with me. When we first began this practice May could make it as far as verse 22 before stopping. As the years wore on and her dementia advanced her memory would stop her at around verse 5. Reciting scripture calmed May’s anxious and tormented soul almost every time. The few times it would fail to do the job I would employee the second best method of soothing her which was to sing hymns together. May loved to sing and I loved to sing with her! She taught me so many songs and old poems and rhymes during our times together! I pray my memory hangs on to them the way hers did.
May loved to laugh! I can still hear her laughter in my heart! She would amuse herself as she talked to me about her husband, her children, and her past. She would beam as she spoke of them with love and concern. Her broken memory painting a picture of happier times and familiar faces. I wish I could have known her back then. She loved her birthday and would become excited like a little child whenever I asked her about it.
I thank God for May! I thank Him for allowing me the privilege of getting to know and love her! She taught me way more than any professor or theologian ever has or could! It’s people like her, people the world tells us we should throw away, that show us the very heart of God!