Sunday, March 18, 2007
Out of the Driver's Seat

Until two weeks ago our 93 year old grandmother, Bethel Smith, (Annette's mother's mother) was driving and living on her own. Then a pain in her leg made it hard for her to walk and promoted the family to find someone to spend time with her. Last Tuesday she had a partial hip replacement and is recovering in a nursing home.

As I sat with this fiercely independent woman whose life will never be the same, I was reminded of Jesus' statement to Peter in John 21:18, I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go. Henri Nowen brought this verse to my attention in a chapter called "From Leading to Being Led" in his book IN THE NAME OF JESUS: REFLECTIONS ON CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP where he explains,

The world says, "When you were young you were dependent and could not go where you want, but when you grow old you will be able to make your own decisions, go your own way, and control your own destiny." But Jesus has a different view of maturity: It is the willingness to be led where you would rather not deeply in love with Jesus that [you] are ready to follow him wherever he guides [you], always trusting that, with him, [you] will find life and find it abundantly.

Every time I've ever been in a nursing home I think, "I never want to live somewhere like this." Walking alongside Grandmother this past week reminds me that when Jesus says, "...where you don't want to go..." he meant it, literally.

I'm grateful for the chance to be part of this transition in my family's life.
And for the chance to step out of my activities and remember the big picture.


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