She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” Genesis 16:13 (NIV)
She seldom made eye contact and rarely spoke; when she did most of what she said was unintelligible. But she could still walk unassisted and so she spent her days wandering up and down the halls and in and out of other residents’ rooms and staff offices. She picked up whatever caught her eye. When something went missing, her room was the first place the staff would look and often they would find the lost item tucked away out of sight in her dresser. Other residents and their families, and even some staff came to see her as a nuisance. The recreation therapist and the nurses tried to come up with strategies to distract her from her daily rounds but without much success.
One day I was on her floor bringing Communion to the residents there. I had placed the tray with the chalice and the wafers on the table in front of me. She wandered in just as I was getting ready to start the service and stood right next to me. I invited her to sit down and join us, but she didn’t budge so finally I just started reading. She continued to stand there as if she were reading the liturgy over my shoulder. All the while I watched her out of the corner of my eye. In my mind’s eye I saw her grabbing the wafers and speeding off to hide them in her room or picking up the chalice and throwing the grape juice on another resident – not maliciously but in a sort of “let’s see what happens” kind of way. (Some years before, I had been “decorated” with melted ice cream in exactly that way by another resident.) But none of that happened; she just continued to stand there, very still. Even so, when we got to the Lord’s Prayer, I prayed with one eye open. When the prayer was finished, I turned and looked at her fully for the first time. To my amazement she was looking back at me, her eyes swimming with tears. There was so much love, such complete presence in her brown eyes that my eyes filled too. “Grace, this is the body and blood of Christ, given for you.” She held my gaze for the longest time and whispered, “Amen.”
Denise Bennett is a storyteller, musician, writer, chaplain, wife, mother, sister, daughter not necessarily in that order. This is my second piece about seeing and being seen by God.....hmmmm. Could be something there I need to look at (tee hee).
Denise takes classes with Valley.