Instead of going to mass on Sunday my church experience was visiting my step-dad. Church for me is when you encounter the Divine within, be it yourself or in others. And boy or boy did I get a treat. A nugget of love that I have been able to carry with me into my week.
Hal’s words are less and less these days but I am hearing him more than ever. Once a feisty Norwegian Fisherman who barely let you get a word in, Hal now spends his days observing and loving deeply with very few words. He sits in his wheel chair speaking with his eyes. His eyes either light up when you visit or cloud over with tears. His mouth is open but words don’t always come out. Being in his presence you don’t need words just an empty, open hand so you can squeeze his back tightly.
On Sunday I came to his nursing room floor during lunch. When the aid feeding him saw me she said, Oh, Hal can you tell us who this is?
He looked up, My neighbor, he reported in a big voice.
No worries, I’ve been called worse. I rubbed his back. I’ll take neighbor, but it’s me Jenny, your youngest.
His tears started flowing. Mouth opened, no words just more love pouring out of his tears and expression. He didn’t want anything more to do with lunch. He held my hand tightly and together we stared into each other’s eyes watching our tears flow.
I tried to feed him more lunch but he pushed away the liquid lunch (I know reader, you are thinking who wouldn’t push away a liquid lunch?). He placed his hand on my shoulder squeezed, rubbed my back, hugged me hard. I didn’t need words to know what he was saying, I knew full well, and I received those words in gratitude. Years of words, moments of hurt, all blessed and forgiven in a touch, in a tear.
by J.G. McGlothern