When I first met Jay, she was severely disabled but still able to fend for herself to some degree. I remember one night when she stayed with us, she insisted on brushing her own teeth. So I held her up at the sink while she slowly and meticulously did her thing... my back was in agony by the time she finally finished. Every week I would pick her up and gently set her in the passenger seat and take her to the Messianic Synagogue where she would join the dancers in her wheelchair as they worshiped the Lord in the dance. She longed for the days when she, as a young girl, had been able to dance and jump and twirl - she loved to dance. But sadly her condition worsened over the years to the point that I could no longer pick her up and set her in a car. Her bones were too brittle. Eventually, she was confined to the nursing home and rarely able to leave. I would come by and wheel her to the dining room where I would feed her, as she no longer had the use of her hands at all. We would then go back to her room and sit in the hallway and I would read to her. Generally, several other patients would edge their way over to where we were and listen. Jay was not an easy person. She could be demanding and difficult at times - understandably. It was generally a very emotionally and mentally draining experience to visit Jay in this depressing, smelly environment. I loved her dearly, but didn't in all honesty always look forward to our visits. There were certainly other places I would rather be most days. But I want to share with you our last visit. I had just finished a particularly rough day at work and was looking forward to going to a Bible study where I could be "ministered to" and refreshed. But on the way, the Holy Spirit impressed upon me to go visit Jay. I was not in the mood. I had nothing to offer. But I listened, turned around, and headed towards the nursing home. As I walked in the front door, the usual smell of urine and whatever other "old people smells" greeted me. I walked down the hall to her room and made some silly joke as usual as I greeted her. She struggled to lift her head, grinned, and let out one of her little "grunty" laughs. She was particularly weak and fragile. We didn't go to the dinning room or even out into the hall. I just sat close to her almost cheek to cheek - her voice was so week I had to get that close to hear her. We talked and joked for a while and as I was about to leave, I gently held her hand as I was about to pray for her and speak the Aaronic blessing over her as usual. And then I stopped. I said "Jay, I always pray for you. Would you pray for me this time?" Her face lit up and she nodded. I lifted her twisted tiny hand and gently laid it on my own and leaned in close so I could hear her. I couldn't tell you what she prayed - I couldn't hear most of it. But as she began to pray for me, I felt the most amazing peace come over me and began to weep. The presence of God was palpable in that room. I said goodbye, not knowing it was for the last time and walked through the same hallways to the exit. Only this time, I wasn't aware of the smells or the gloominess, or the dreariness of the place. I was walking in the clouds. I experience the love of God from this broken down woman who I had shared years of life with. Looking back, I had no idea in the midst of the journey what an impact this poor frail woman was having on me. I thought I was pouring my life out for her only to find in the end, I was the one who received the greatest blessing.
Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. - Luke 6:38