He leaned over and with a trembling hand, brought on by the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, he took a paper napkin and wiped the crumbs from the corners of her mouth. Then, ever so slowly, he picked up a small glass of cold milk, pressed it against her lips, and tipped it just enough so she could take a tiny sip. She picked up a Pop-tart, always strawberry, and he helped guide her hands so she could take a bite. Each gesture was repeated over and over until she had enough and motioned for him to stop.
He reached for a hand full of pills, and while her tears were breaking his heart, he took all the time necessary to help her swallow each one.
By mid-morning, she didn’t know who he was. The advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease put her in a state of mind where all she wanted to do was leave. She wanted to go home. But she was home. So he would take her by the hand and walk through the house, pointing out the pictures of her three children, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren in an effort to restore her memory. Yet in her mind, she was a young girl again and wanted to go home to her mother. He would continue to calm her as best he could. She would eventually let him lead her to the couch where he sat next to her, gently placing his arm around her shoulders until she drifted off to sleep.
When she could no longer sit up, even long enough for a small morning meal, he would pull a chair up next to her bed and offer little bites of her favorite strawberry Pop-tarts and tiny sips of cold milk.
Then, on a sunny February afternoon, she sat up one last time, smiled at her sweet husband, and gently passed away from him.
He bent down, hands shaking, and gently kissed her goodbye.
“Be completely humble and gentle;
be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
Gentleness is not always a quality I exhibit. While my heart is often tender toward those who need my help, my actions sometimes speak a different language. I find myself being impatient, slightly irritated and having higher expectations than the person’s ability to perform the smallest of tasks. Yet, I see gentleness modeled for me, in the lives of those who follow the Lord. I thank God he gives us examples, and he gives us many chances to become more like Him.
Who models gentleness in your life? Or, are you the model for someone else?
“The fruit of God’s Spirit can only be realized in the life of someone who is consistently yielding to the Spirit’s work in his or her life.”
– Priscilla Shirer
from Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted
“… the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
Galatians 5:22-23 NASB