Wrong Words-Right Heart

This is my first visit to Yakima, Washington at this time of year. Most often I’ve come in the summer when the weather is warm and dry. The days long this far north and the skies clear blue.

I didn’t come to see the change of seasons but to see what change has come with mama’s dementia. I packed light, not bringing a coat but sweaters and shirts to layer. I didn’t realize how this can mirror my emotional packaging. It, too was layered, cautious at first as I peered in to see what I could shed.

We went with two of her sisters today. Five women from two generations gathered in her apartment laughing like we always have. Still the hostess, mama gets up to offer her “guests” a drink. She pulls Cokes from her little refrigerator and passes them around then forgets where her refrigerator is. That would explain why I find articles of clothing in kitchen drawers and her picture box in the cupboard. This reminder to me of why mama is here, why I am here.

There is a band playing in the activity room and we walk down to listen. Mama’s foot taps in beat to the music. She laughs at the jokes a woman reads between some of the songs. I shed some layers and pull the camera to snap a few moments (even under threat from an aunt!)

The resident director asks to see Lisa and I in her office. She calls us on to pray with us. Really? She takes our hands and holding firm she prays for God’s strength to be our strength, for God’s peace to be our peace. Tears fall from Lisa’s eyes and I think of the verse a friend shared with me on Facebook this morning. “God makes his people strong. God gives his people peace. (Psalm 29:11 MSG)”. From Russia this verse shared and now standing half a world away another woman prays these very things.

We go back with the others and prepare to say good-bye to mama. One asks if she would pray with us and she nods. We hold hands, all of us. I want to capture this in a picture but know I can’t. Know the others would think inappropriate. Mama hesitates and I wonder if she misunderstood and then she starts to pray. Her words still jumbled but I can understand the meaning. She is praying for the facility and others. Just like mama to pray for others.

I can only imagine what those words sounded like to God. He knows the voice of his children. He knows her voice, one who has called on him throughout her life. Her words may not be the right ones but her heart is right. A right heart. As clear as the blue skies God is hearing her wrong words ring right and clear through her heart.

(mobile WordPress will only allow photos at the beginning of a post, not in between paragraphs.)

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About Deborah Hudson

I serve in ministry alongside my husband. We are currently working in the recovery community as administrators of a residential program for men who have lost their way in life, many due to substance abuse issues. This program is called an Adult Rehabilitation Center under the direction of The Salvation Army. My husband and I are officers in this organization and as such, ordained ministers. I have two grown children and one delightful granddaughter. I'm also learning to deal with the effects of dementia as my mother is caught in the mire of this disease. I drink too much Pepsi and sing too loud in my car. I blog about my life. Life among people in recovery, life as a journeyer, life unexpected. My life has the typical messiness of the day to day and in the midst of the mess of me is grace. View all posts by Deborah Hudson

12 responses to “Wrong Words-Right Heart

  • Lou

    Your trip sounds bittersweet. What can any of us do but pray?

    I hope today brings some lightness to your heart.

    • Debby

      Yes, Lou, bittersweet is fitting. And prayer has been my strength and comfort. Thank you for thinking of me. I hope to catch up with your blog soon and looking forward to meeting you!

  • iamnotshe

    It’s so hard to know the right words to say. You have your mom’s “right heart”: That is for sure. Thank you for sharing your pictures … and i don’t understand why your aunt was against taking pictures? I hope you have a safe trip home sweetness :-) xoxox melis

    • Debby

      Melis, I’m not sure why the aunt was grumbling over the picture. She was fine in the group shot but my attempts at candid shots had her edgy. It didn’t stop me! :)
      It’s been good but tiring. Thanks for keeping me in your thoughts all along the way! xoxo

  • Heidi

    Very precious pictures. Thank you for keeping in touch. Will continue to pray for you. I love the comparison of emotions and clothes.

    “I didn’t realize how this can mirror my emotional packaging. It, too was layered, cautious at first as I peered in to see what I could shed.” Great insight.

    • Debby

      Heidi, I think I’m an emotional clothes horse! ;) just kidding
      Thank you for the kind words, and mostly the prayers. I have been strengthened by every one.

  • Chris morrow

    Nicely written Debby and good photos as well

    • Debby

      Thank you Chris, for the support you give the family out here week in and week out. your ministry is so appreciated! And thanks for letting us use the minivan today. It was a big help with mom!

  • Debbie

    Debby – How did I miss this yesterday?? I missed the post, but certainly was praying for you.
    Oh yes, the praying – your Mama praying in words her Father knew and loved … that’ so very beautiful. Of course she would be praying for others. No mystery where you get it and you certainly got it!
    Hope by the time this posts you’re back home safely.
    grace and love, dear friend,
    Debbie

    • Debby

      Yes, Debbie, home where the musics playing :) we’ve spent most of the day boating with my brothers family. It’s a beautiful day and hearing the girls squeals when the boat rocked was just as beautiful. It’s a full, wonderful, grateful life. So glad you are part of it!

  • judikruis

    Yes – Our Father knows our hearts – His Spirit intercedes for us. Keep laughing mama – He loves to hear that too!

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