I am thrilled to have a meditation included in The Upper Room to connect with other Christians all around the world. Much has changed for me since I sent it for consideration over two years ago. Then I was working part-time in our local Sixth Form College, in a lovely historic city bordering Wales. I was also busy running the home as my husband, Tim, is self-employed and works long hours. I was also busy in church. We have two adult daughters, four school-age grandsons, and quite a large wider family so there is always a lot going on!
At the time I was also visiting and supporting my mother, Hazel, to whom I refer to in the meditation. She was resident in a local care home as she had Alzheimer’s Disease. She lived there for over 5 years and was wonderfully cared for, so I was never anxious about her safety or happiness. There was a loving feeling to the home and she joined in many activities, especially singing in the choir. She also attended some church services in the local parish church and in the home. For special treats she visited the cathedral where she had worshiped for 10 years while living independently. I can’t praise the staff enough for making her final years so rich. In 2019 her health began to seriously deteriorate as her dementia increased, and she died in the December. We were blessed to be with her at the end—we were playing and singing carols and some of her favorite songs such as “I could have danced all night.” That song summed up my mother. She had always been a vivacious person with a real zest for life, and we tried to mark that in her funeral service and the afternoon tea held afterwards in one of her favorite hotels.
I am sure there are many readers who have had experience of caring for a loved one with dementia—a parent or spouse or otherwise—who know how challenging that is for a family. I found myself turning to prayer many times. With so much going on with work, home, family, and church my prayers were often a bit haphazard. Sometimes I didn’t say thank you to God as I had forgotten all about them. I really was like the children who knocked on our door and disappeared before my mother or I could answer it, whom I wrote of in my devotion! It was only later, after my mother died, as life settled down, I thought back and realized how many prayers God had answered so faithfully.
More recently, of course, we have had the challenge of the COVID-19 virus, and in England we have had several lockdowns. Sadly, many people have been unable to be with their loved ones at end of life or attend their funerals.
Lockdown has given us all more time for reflection and prayer. In the spring I began to consider giving up my job and prayed a lot about this, and discussed it with Tim. By the autumn I felt God was encouraging me to leave in order to write more seriously. At the end of October I gave up my job—after 37 years of being involved in teaching and assessing students. I sensed God was telling me to leave and “not look back” as I embark on writing to share God’s love with others. This is the pathway I am now walking with God as I am writing more poetry and meditations.
KINGDOM MOMENT IN THE NURSING HOME
(Maundy Thursday Communion)
Your tenderest touch so lightly placed,
the providential prayer so softly whispered,
restore to her the dignity
that the cruelties of age
and infirmity have long since carried off,
leaving her seemingly alone and empty.
Yet God’s spirit reaches out
and in, and down,
spirals to where her spirit
dwells, in silences to us perhaps,
but in that touch, those words,
the flame of love rekindles
the dimming wick of faith and hope
and dignifies this moment
as one blessed,
and is as important to God
as all the rest.
© Faith Ford, 2020
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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