I close my eyes and go to the place in my mind where comfort dwells, my safe place. I walk down the hall to room 6 at Grace Villa nursing home where mom spent her last seven years. I enter the room and pass by bed #1, the one her roommate Sharon once occupied, to mom’s side of the room. I look around at all her pictures hanging on the wall. Her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, they are all full of smiles, beautiful ones. The pictures speak no words of the lives that lay behind the smiles.
I look at the empty bed where my mom once lay. I miss her. I climb in and lay down remembering her scent, her warmth, I sigh. I did that often when she was alive, when I would visit, just her and I, I’d lay beside her and we would cuddle, talk, laugh and cry. We would share our hearts’ deepest pains and joys. My heart would empty in that room as she listened. It was a place where my mommy and my Lord dwelt, in one spot, together.
I knew only a little of the pain she carried for her children. I came to understand why she loved her room, in the midst of a place filled with sickness, death and decay just beyond the door of her oasis where she was tucked away. Away from seeing all the pain and hardship her children were going through. She did not want to know all that was going on, it was too much pain to bare.
I too want a room where I can put up the beautiful, happy pictures of my loved ones and pretend all is well in this dark and broken world. I only want to know the goodness in each, not the turmoil, heart ache or sinful choices. I want to embrace the joy displayed in those pictures. I long for those moments with my mom, where, for a moment, the world would go away, where her tender touch and words would bring healing to my broken heart. I was strengthened by her faith, her love for her Father, her Savior. For I am weak, I cannot deal with seeing my children struggle, broken and lost. I had been there many times myself, but it is different watching my children in the battle.
As I lay in the bed, mom is no longer there, but God is, He is lying beside me. He never left. I lament. I cry and empty myself once again to Him, my perfect daddy. I tell him about all that weighs me down, all my hurts and sadness, even though He knows, it feels so good to say it, again. My heart aches. My heart aches at what I have lost, what the enemy continually tries to take away from me. My daddy holds me, listens and comforts me. I tell him I long to be done, for heaven, where there is no more pain or sorrow, but He says it is not my time. I can’t stay in the room much longer. He holds me tight, I feel safe. “Why do I have to go?” I ask again. He does not answer but holds me tighter. Deep within me I know why. I am just tired, I want to rest.
Help me Father to walk in love, compassion and forgiveness, I say. I don’t want anger or bitterness, that is not of you. But I don’t always know how. I need you to show me, guide me. I am so weak. I look at my mom’s verse that hangs on the wall “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Phil 4:13). My mother always said she was weak, oh I believed her to be so strong, but she said God, He is the one who gave her strength. She said she was a pile of weakness without God. I laugh at this for I too am a pile of weakness. I can do nothing on my own. But I am God’s child therefore I too can be filled with his strength. I feel safe here, tucked away from the world, but I know I cannot stay. I rest a little longer as my Father reassures me He is right by my side, He always was and is. He says He will never leave me, He promises. I believe this to be true because He has always been faithful to me. I feel much better but I still don’t want to leave, but I know it is time. He gets up and extends His hand, I place mine in His and we walk out the door together. I smile because I know I can come back when I need to rest again.