What are her thoughts as she meticulously combs through the long white hair of the woman sitting in front of her? The daily, faithful task done in obscurity may offer her moments to think, that is, when she is not trying to settle the worries or endure the nonsense of the woman suffering from dementia.
But today is different, special. As she patiently works through portion after portion of the thinning hair, she considers the irony that today is her birthday and the aged woman doesn’t know it.
Does she long to hear the woman smile and say, “Happy Birthday, Lizzie,” like she used to before the woman’s mind became confused? Does she wish the woman would turn around, even for a moment, and thank the Lord for creating her and giving her life those many years ago?
Probably. Though it doesn’t happen, she begins braiding with love. Braid after braid for the woman who once braided hair herself years ago with as much love as she is now receiving.
Braid after braid in the hair of the woman whose womb carried the very one whose hands are now braiding.
* * * *
Happy Birthday today, April 1st, to my mother-in-law, Liz, who has sacrificed the majority of the past two decades giving care to a string of her elderly relatives. Currently she cares for her mom, known to the rest of us as Oma.
I wrote this after my husband called to wish her a Happy Birthday this morning and found her in the middle of combing/fixing Oma’s hair.
She is marked in our hearts as one of the greatest preachers we know, proclaiming with her life the Word of God louder than any microphone can carry words from a pulpit.
Would you say a prayer of joy, strength, and blessing for her today?