If you ask someone to tell you what love means, I guess you could get as many answers as the times you asked the question. Right now, I’m thinking of one person who to me, defines the word love. Her name is Elaine. She is 28 years my senior. As I write this, she is waiting for Jesus to come and pick her up. Her time here, her exile, is almost over.
I went to see her today. It was just the two of us. There she was, resting silently in the confines of the world that lay under her closed eyes. I pondered the wonder of all that was taking place in that world that none of us were privileged to view. I wondered if God was entertaining her and showing her the world that was just on the other side from where she was to where she was going. Was she experiencing God’s dying grace? Oh, why not? He is with us for all things. And certainly, this must include those unknown places. I mean, He did say, “I will never leave you. I will never forsake you.” Surely, He meant these silent, isolated places when our eyes are closed, and we cannot speak.
The night before, I had walked into her room. I had every intention to find her in her wheelchair waiting to be escorted to the 2nd floor library where for every first Tuesday of every month our little Bible study group has met. All, because of her. She was a no show. I wanted to know why. I found her there. Quiet. Laying with her eyes closed in her darkened room. There was an oxygen tube placed under her nose and I knew, our Elaine would n
ot be joining us that night and probably never again. I walked up beside her bed and laid my hands on her body. I wanted her to know that I was there. Her paper thin eye lids opened and when she realized it was me, a smile surrendered to her sullen face. They softened as they focused on me and she mouthed these words, “I love you”. A million things were said in the silence. I looked at her in tears and asked, “No more Bible studies?” She softly smiled and whispered, “No more.”
She knew. She knew that I was the woman who didn’t want to get involved in women’s Bible studies. She prayed that God would change my heart. She knew that I struggled with my past and my present. She prayed that I would live in the moment and trust and obey. She knew that I wasn’t confident in the fact that God had called me to lead this Bible study group. She showed up and became my greatest cheerleader. And she knew that God had done a great work in me and as we lingered with one another all that conversation took place in utter silence. This is love.
My intentions were to share communion with her. I poured a little grape juice into a plastic container, brought some wafers and a couple of little cups. But, I knew, there would be no communion for us this day. So, I just sat there in silence. I swiveled the little chair I was sitting on and noticed her Bible sitting on the desk behind me. In no time it was in my hands. It was her Scofield. Oh, this precious Bible. This was Elaine’s Bible and one that she had promised would be mine when she moved. I picked it up and tenderly caressed the pages. They were as frail as she. In no time I made my way to the gospel of John and decided instinctively to read the last words of Jesus to His disciples just prior to His crucifixion. John 13 through 17. I read out loud, all five chapters. She never flinched. But me? Oh, I can’t tell you. You want to know love? This is love.
Jesus is love.
I sat in the silence of that room. My dear Elaine, off on some enchanted journey with Jesus and miracles of miracles He gave to me a journey as well.