Summary: Nursing home resident decides to reach out to someone else because she remembers Jesus washing the disciples feet.
Introduction: Rebecca had been a good wife and mother. She had been a great grandmother even before her great grandchildren had begun to arrive. Faithful, stable and pleasant to be around.
Rebecca had always liked doing best. Sometimes after she had been talking, especially after conversations that were somewhat tense, it left her feeling uncomfortable. Doing things seldom did that.
Rebecca thought about the time right before her husband died that they had had a tiff. Now with him gone she couldn’t go back and fix him a good meal, couldn’t compliment him on something he’d done, even something small like picking up the yard, and she couldn’t ask him for help. No, those days were gone, and their passing left her sad.
Remembering the tiff she couldn’t remember if it was her fault or his. Now it didn’t matter. What good would it do to try to prove if she had been right or wrong now? Alger was gone. No one else would understand. No, and she began to cry inside as she thought about the painful truth that no one would care enough now to try and understand. Rebecca could feel the familiar ugliness of depression creeping around as if it was sneaking a look around a corner to see if it could come into her mind.
No! she could not let it happen! Rebecca promised herself that she would not let it happen. She would not let herself slide into another blue funk that would last until bedtime only to worry it would start again when she woke up. No, she would beat this thing and she would beat it now. But, how? Then the idea hit her like a fresh light on a new day, she would do something!
Then she could almost see that sly monster creeping up beside her, telling her it was no use. She might as well give up and give in and just slouch in her wheelchair until they came to get her for supper.
Rebecca started to cry. Not with the sound of crying, but the tears silently began to fill her eyelids and then one tear dropped onto her cheek and began a slow descent toward her mouth.
Rebecca wiped it away with a shaky hand. “No!” she said to herself, “I will not let it happen again!” But what would Rebecca do? She could no longer kneed bread. It was even too difficult to do some of the simple crafts they provided. And Rebecca knew she could no longer sew quilts. Huh! She couldn’t even sew patches on jeans even if someone did drop off a pair that were on their last legs. And Rebecca could no longer trust herself to hold an infant. Depression would not be hard to embrace. “What did God make me for if I can’t do anything!?” Rebecca sobbed to herself.
Then there was a surprising question in her head. “You can’t do anything?” it seemed to say.
“Well,” thought Rebecca, “maybe saying I can’t do anything is a little strong…but what can I do?”
Rebecca looked up from within herself. The hallway was a little blurry from the tear that had not fallen from one eye. Rebecca wiped it away now and started to get her bearings. The hallway at the nursing home had not changed. There were the familiar glazed cement blocks with the wooden hand rail at what should have been waist height. Now it was shoulder height for her.
Rebecca prayed. “Lord, is there something here you want me to do for you?” Rebecca thought she might be able to cheer someone up. That would be something worth doing! But all she saw were sleepy nursing home residents. These people looked more like they didn’t want to be bothered than cheered up. And they could very well see her as a bother when she had so little life as she had left in her. Even the ones being pushed to and from their rooms, or to and from wherever they were supposed to be going, even they were sleepy on this warm afternoon. Even if they looked busy, they weren’t. They may have been in motion, but they weren’t busy. They were just getting pushed along through life.
“Jesus,” Rebecca surprised herself when she heard her own voice pray out loud. But after a minute of watching to see if anyone noticed, she started in again. “Jesus,” Rebecca did not want people to think she was talking to herself, so she said it a little louder. “Jesus, what do you want me to do?”
Looking around for something obvious didn’t help much. “Come, on, Rebecca,” she said to herself, “if God has prepared something good for you to do, He is also going to show it to you. Look harder.” Still nothing. Nothing but sleepy residents in various positions of comfort. Slumping over didn’t look comfortable. No, Rebecca knew she shouldn’t try to straighten them up. Even the assistants couldn’t do that very well. Once they had been propped up into a more normal position, those aged bodies would remain like that for a few seconds, or a few minutes, but inevitably a muscle would twitch and they would slide back into their slump.