I left the Health Center where Ms. D lives a bit melancholy. Today she told me that she has been there for ten years. I asked her if it felt like home yet and she said a heartbreaking, “No.” Not in a “Poor-me” way, but in a “these are the facts” sort of way.
She got old too soon.
I felt sad when I saw two old men in wheelchairs huddled around the vending machine getting Schweppes carbonated water, like it was the highlight of their day. I hope it wasn’t, but maybe it was.
And who am I to determine that a life must have higher highs than buying a Schweppes from a vending machine? Maybe they are looking at me thinking, “It’s so sad that that young woman thinks she needs more than this delicious, sparkling, bubbling water I’m about to drink.”
How strange to have everything behind you and nothing before you except Bingo and death. And that part is OK. The thing that really bothers me is the loneliness.
Ms. D has a daughter, but I’m afraid that she doesn’t see her much. From what I can gather, they had a disagreement over money.
As a new mom, this is gut-twistingly sad to me. To have that relationship severed because of money- paper, coins. I stare at Bera’s flushed cheeks and stocking feet as I push her down the halls filled with wheelchairs and hospital equipment and I can’t help but think of her as a resident there. With the TV on all day at full volume. No one to smile at, or worse, no reason to smile. I almost can’t stand it.
It also feels pitiful that all I can do for Ms. D is show up on Tuesdays with unsalted potato chips and offer to read a Psalm. Making my baby pat her on the arm, since Ms. D can’t see. When I wish what I could do is this: heal her eyes to give her sight, her speech, her leg, her kidneys, her relationship with her daughter. I wish I could summon her friends and husband from the dead so they could come and talk to her about memories I am not a part of.
But I can’t do those things. I can’t make it all better.
It is tempting for me to do nothing when I can’t do everything. But is anything done in the name of Christ ever wasted? Maybe, then it isn’t that I need to do bigger things. Maybe my motives need to be bigger. Maybe I need the faith and sight to see tiny little things done in the name of Christ as important and worthwhile and holy work.