Lemons and Lemonade
By Kathi Macias –
“When the world gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
Okay, I get it. Don’t cry over spilled milk and all that—just clean up the mess and find a way to make something good out of it. Before you know it, those tears might just turn into laughter, right?
Right. Seriously! It happens.
We’ve been going through a really tough time lately—walking my almost 90-year-old mother through the last of her days/weeks/months (years?) on earth before bidding her farewell when she goes home at last. It’s the cry of her heart to leave this world and “graduate” to heaven, as she so longs to see her Savior and be reunited with loved ones who have gone ahead of her—particularly my dad. In fact, she says that’s one of the most difficult things of living so long: you soon find that nearly everyone your own age has already checked out! On the positive side (making lemonade again!), you don’t have to deal with peer pressure.
Mom lived with us for almost eleven years before we realized we could no longer care for her. She needed someone with her 24/7, and we simply couldn’t do it. We visited a lot of nursing and private care homes before deciding on an assisted living facility within fifteen minutes of our home. It’s a lovely place with delightful people and gorgeous grounds. Mom has her own private room, which we decorated with many of her personal things, and yet she still has the care she needs. It’s ideal!
But every now and then we’re reminded that we won’t find “perfect” until we get to heaven. It happened to me the other day when I went to visit Mom. I was walking down the hallway toward her apartment, thrilled that we had found such a nice place for Mom, when I heard a voice behind me mumbling, “It’s so hot in here! Why do they keep it so hot in this place? And where is my apartment?”
Uh oh. I asked myself if I should turn around or just keep walking. I made the wrong choice. I turned around and there, heading straight toward me, was a woman who had no doubt marked a minimum of eighty years on this planet—and was as naked as a jaybird! Her clothes were strewn along the hallway behind her where she had apparently tossed them in an attempt to escape the “heat” as she searched for her home.
A couple of phone calls quickly confirmed that she was a new arrival who had managed to “escape” her apartment (they are now working on getting her moved to the dementia wing) and had no idea how to find her way back—or even where “home” was.
I know. That really isn’t funny, though the incident did cause a few chuckles among the other residents who are now being much more careful to keep their doors locked, since apparently the “happy wanderer” had stopped into their places while seeking her own.
I couldn’t help thinking of that precious woman when I sat with my mother at the Sunday afternoon church service held at the facility each week. There are several hundred residents there, but only about thirty or forty who avail themselves of the chance to come together for corporate worship. (Some ride the van to their own churches, but many others do not, and each has the opportunity to come downstairs to join in.) Is it possible that at least some of those who don’t attend are as spiritually naked and lost as the woman I saw in the hallway that day? At least she was making an effort to find her way home; how many of the others have no idea where “home” really is—and they’re running out of time!
Makes me that much more determined to make lemonade out of lemons! Moving my mom into the assisted living facility has been difficult, but it has opened a new door for ministry—both for her and for me when I visit. We are determined to make a difference there and to walk in such a way as to light the way home for all those who are lost and homesick…even if they don’t know it.
Kathi Macias (www.kathimacias.com; www.thetitus2women.com) is an award-winning author of more than 30 books, including her upcoming April release, People of the Book, the final installment of the Extreme Devotion series from New Hope Publishers.