Last week I got the call that we all dread, “Mom’s not doing well. You might want to come.” Luckily, I live close by and was at my Mom’s bedside within twenty minutes or so. The priest had just left. Anointing of the Sick had been given. And now all there was to do was wait.
Well, Mom must be messing with us because twenty-four hours later she was laughing and communicating–the belle of the ball. As dramatic as the difference was, we know it’s only a reprieve. Mom’s had Alzheimer’s for years and is at the end of the disease. This recent chain of events is just another reminder that we don’t know how much longer we have with her. It’s also a reminder of how much of an illusion our sense of control is.
I’m a planner. My husband is a planner. We’re used to trying to make our lives a bit more orderly. But, in times like this even we have to acknowledge that most things are, ultimately, out of our control. What a hard and good lesson that is. None of us know what the future holds. The best we can do is make sure we are prepared when God calls us home. It reminds me of the Gospel story of the virgins and the bridegroom. (Matthew 25:1-13) Remember how the virgins were waiting to greet the bridegroom and enter the wedding feast with him. Some of the virgins were prepared and had brought oil for their lamps. The others were foolish and hadn’t brought any oil with them. They ended up being locked out of the wedding feast. Jesus ends that parable saying, “Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
And so we wait. But we don’t waste the time we have while it’s here. No. We talk. We laugh. We tell stories and sing songs (lots of songs. Mom loves to sing.) We soak in every moment we have together. But mostly, we just love.