Tuesday, January 18, 2011

In Devotion...

There's a song I've liked since the first time I've heard it.  "Our God Reigns" by Brandon Heath.  We've recently started singing it in our church sometimes.  I don't like to sing songs, though, without thinking about what they mean... about what's coming out of my mouth.  What I'm truly saying.

There is a line that I haven't thought about though.  A line I just sort of brushed past, thinking "Yep, know all about that."

In devotion, to His bride.

I guess I sort of let it slide because, well... God is perfect.  Jesus is perfect.  I'm not.  The devotion, comes easy for Him, right?  And even though I'm not perfect, I'm not terrible (at least not always). 

Today, I had an appointment with my doctor.  Nothing major - just needed a new prescription for the pain in my leg and to have him re-check my swollen, clotted, and recently un-infected hand. 

I thought I was going to explode with love, and appreciation, as I sat in the waiting room.

I was a half hour early (not because I'm super-punctual, but because I forgot what time my appointment really was).  As I sat in the chair, my mind sort of drifted to different things.  I watched with disinterest as an old classmate came in with her son (he's almost eight; how does time go by this fast?), and as an irate man came and demanded to see a physician who actually hasn't worked there for nearly a year.  I laughed when the receptionist started giggling on the phone.  Not because I knew what she was talking about (or hearing) but because her giggle is infectious.

Then the elevator doors opened again, and a dapper, older man (I'd put him around 70) came out pushing a wheelchair.  And a tiny, tiny wisp of humanity was folded in that chair.  Literally folded.  In half.  Chest resting on knees, head lolling to the side, tongue protruding.  There were stumps instead of fingers on her left hand, and the right hand was gnarled and curled.  She wasn't wearing shoes.  Her right foot was visibly swollen, even through the heavy wool socks she wore.  Her left foot was clubbed, and I'm reasonably sure there were no toes left.  Her hair was tangled and gray, skin wrinkled.  Her skin was nearly transparent, but she was still clearly of Mediterranean decent.  Her brown eyes were vacant and unfocused, and her face without expression.  There is no way she weighed any more than about 70 pounds... and that's if her clothes was maybe not as baggy as I think.  She looked to be about 200 years old... or more realistically, probably the same age as the man.

She was, in so many ways, not what I picture when I imagine a beautiful woman.  Bear with me here... I'm not being rude, or mean, or prejudiced.  I certainly didn't view her as ugly - far from it.

The man pushed her chair to the desk, and was quietly checked in and handed a pager.  As he slowly wheeled the chair in my general direction, he started talking.  He told her how he felt the doctor would help her today, that he thought this would be a good day.  He told her that her blanket was folded up in the pocket of her wheelchair, so it wasn't cold when he wrapped her up in the car.  He took her over to the fish tank they have there... it's full of very large goldfish and a couple plicostomouses (I know I butchered that spelling, by the way).  He knelt carefully beside the chair, angled toward the woman just a little.  I had wondered up until then if he was close to the woman, or merely providing transport.  I noticed that he was wearing a wedding band on his left hand... and a smaller one on a chain around his neck.

He began to talk in earnest to the woman, as if he expected a response.  I tried not to stare, but I couldn't help it.  As he looked at her, it was enough to melt any heart.  Such love.  His eyes danced as he told her about the fish, about what kind they were.  He started talking about a trip he'd taken, to Australia.  He'd gotten to go scuba diving, and saw "the most beautiful, beautiful fish you've ever imagined.  Thousands of them."  As he talked... an amazing thing happened.  The woman's chin lifted just a little.  Her eyes opened a tiny bit wider and began to shine.  Her tongue quit moving side to side.  A dimple - an actual, real dimple - appeared in one cheek.  The man held her hands - the one gnarled and useless, the other missing all five fingers - and spoke to her, leaning close.  I watched as saliva started to run down her chin... and I hated it.  I hated that something so basic, so natural, was interfering with the beauty of this moment.  The man never paused.  He released her left hand, and used a towel that was folded carefully in the woman's lap to wipe her face.  He let the towel fall, and cupped her chin in his hand.  Gently, sweetly, he kissed her forehead.

He began to talk to her about his plans for having the men in their youth group stay overnight one Friday, and the women the next.  About how a particular speaker had agreed to do both weekends for them.  About campfires and sleeping bags and s'mores.  Her eyes shone even brighter, and that dimple reappeared.  So did the saliva.  She must have felt it - she grimaced.  He wiped her face again, gently, carefully.  His fingers caressed her cheek.  He asked her if the medicine he'd given her at home had tasted okay, or if it was really terrible.  I didn't see a response, didn't hear anything... but he did.  He laughed - a deep, rich laugh - and said "It was that bad, was it?  But at least you didn't get sick in the car, right?"  The dimple reappeared. 

This man knelt there, in front of this folded up, mangled, helpless woman, and told her he was going to take her camping.  Because she always seemed so happy outside, and he wanted her to see all the beauty he got to see.  He was going to ask the doctor what extra things he should bring.  He told her how they'd put their tent near the water, and he'd set their air bed up with extra pillows so she could see outside while he built a fire.  Then he would hold her, and they'd have marshmallows and watch the fireflies and the stars.

The buzz of their pager interrupted my (probably somewhat rude) observations.  The man stood, slowly.  He pushed the chair toward the hallway, and the nurse smiled and said "How are you both doing today?"  The man gave another of his laughs, and said "We are doing very well today.  It's a beautiful world, and I get to spend the entire day with my beautiful wife."  He laid one of his hands on the woman's back.  I caught one last glimpse of her face - eyes once again blank and unfocused, tongue protruding and moving slowly side to side, no expression... nearly resting on her knees.  He smiled down at her then... rubbed her back and squared his shoulders.  And said to the nurse, "Isn't she lovely?"

In devotion to his bride.

Think about it.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

1 comment:

Translation Warrior said...

Whoa ... Jenn - that's amazing!