It was a typical task-filled Saturday for me. The "to do" list looked something like this: 1. get a manicure; 2. buy groceries for the week; 3. visit a nursing home-bound member and deliver Communion; 4. pay bills; 5. finish laundry; 6. get the car washed; 7. pick up dry cleaning--get the picture?
But when my list took me to a local nursing home, time stood still and tasks stopped. It was a dreary place: the member's room looked as if it hadn't been cleaned in some time. Piles of clothes and bed linens were shoved into the corner. The light was poor and the windows were dingy. There was no place to sit, as the only chair was filled with discarded towels.
She was dozing when I arrived with my fellow team member, but soon brightened when she realized that members of her church had come to visit. Her smile and her joy were infectious and there was no vaccine.
She quoted scripture and described the answers to prayer that she had received. She told us how she'd done her best to encourage her roommate and others around her. She looked forward to going home soon. She asked us to pray for a member whose husband was hospitalized.
My heart melted.
She was confined to an unkempt room. I could come and go as I pleased.
She was dependent on the whims of underpaid and overworked staff persons. I had to pick out a nail polish color.
She was bound to an outdated facility that time appears to have forgotten. I had squeezed her in between groceries and laundry.
She taught me a new meaning of thanksgiving: We don't just give God thanks for what we have, or what He has given us. For this precious saint, her ability to be thankful was grounded in the quality of her relationship with--and love for--God. God had not abandoned her; He had been answering her prayers and filling her spirit. So this saint made her room holy ground upon which I was privileged to stand.
As I passed the elements to her, the Scripture's significance filled me anew. I remembered Christ's ultimate sacrifice and His unwavering love.
I, too, gave thanks.