Friday, May 21, 1999
Jesus talking to Peter:
"When you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go."
I remember fascinating visits to a local nursing home, several years ago. We accompanied several U of I students and our own much younger kids to sing and pray with some of the residents of the Royal Fontana. We sang together for awhile and then talked and prayed with them one by one.
Rose sat in one of the wheelchairs we knelt beside. Her face, covered with hundreds of delicate wrinkles, was filled with peace. Her lips rested in a simple smile. Her blue eyes still sparkled under their cataracts. Rose was tired, she was old, she was weak, and she was an inspiration to me. Rose was always polite, and quick to ask about us when we talked with her. She enjoyed praying for us. Her voice was frail, and we had to listen closely when she spoke. She seemed unconcerned about her pain.
I also remember another resident, a former barber from a nearby small town. In his later years he had become blind. He stayed in the back of the room; but sometimes in the middle of a song or a group prayer he began to swear loudly, cursing those around him, cursing God. Pulled and led from place to place by people he could not see, he was trapped and bitter and afraid, trusting no one.
I want to be like Rose. Waiting to be taken to heaven is not always pleasant. I want to cast a light of wisdom and peace on those who are leading me, rather than a shadow of bitter anger and despair. To be able to do that then means that for today I must often choose the way of submission and obedience. If it is not easy for me now, it will only be harder still when I have even less control of my life. I want to learn while I still can.
Lord, please teach me the rudiments of surrender today, so that I can be an "expert" by the time it's truly necessary.