Author: Joy York
Blank, expressionless are the words I would use to describe her face. She was always a beautiful lady. She took care to dress nice, had high cheekbones, a ready smile, and always the first to jump in to wash dishes on Thanksgiving. Now she sat in the recliner with a blanket pulled to her chin as my mother, her twin sister, fed her dinner. My mother coaxing with each bite, encouraging her to try to eat more: Offering ice cream when she didn’t want the rice, meat balls, or green beans. My mother who I had always considered a bit impatient as I was growing up, maybe even a little shallow. My own mother whom I so underestimated and took for granted as a child and teenager. Having watched her care for her mother throughout the course of Alzheimers and now repeating this process with her twin sister, I have seen more of my Mother’s essence. I have seen her steadfastness in caring for these women even past their appreciation for the care.
In the small stifling room of the nursing home, I wanted to escape. I wanted to leave the dreary place with its antiseptic smell, fluorescent light, and scheduled ‘entertainment’. As I stayed and watched my mother smile and talk gently and sweetly to her sister, I realized what sisterhood looks like. It is the beauty of sacrifice. It is the acceptance of loving that person in the here and now regardless of their capacity to return that affection. It is a deeper resolve that supersedes feelings, or convenience. It is my mother showing up every day to visit and feed her sister.
Today I met with a group of women to discuss women’s ministry, how to remind women of their value as daughters of the King. We prayed over how to show them love in the midst of their burdens and heartache. These are women in different stages, from different backgrounds, different skills and abilities, but a common bond in our recognition that life lived with the love of God matters. That sharing that love through words, through action, through beauty, through food, through whatever the gift or skill may be is life giving.
Sisterhood is not about fixing what is broken. Only God can do that. Sisterhood is about walking through the brokenness together. It is about seeing the beauty of connection even in the midst of pain. It is about sacrificing for one another. It is about accepting a person in the state they are in and expressing love to them in the way they need at that time. It is about sensitivity to God, to the Holy Spirit, to the needs of those around us, and then responding. It is about recognizing the gifts and abilities within each other, rejoicing in those and resting in God’s provision.
My mom and her twin sister have a lifetime of stories. Stories of laughter, stories of learning, stories of hurt all intermingle in the development of this bond. There is no expectation on either side for perfection but a comfort that comes from knowing someone so well for so long. There is a common bond not only genetically but also a belief in a loving God. I don’t always understand the why when it comes to illnesses or suffering, but I choose to believe that the God I serve is so much greater, that He will use even this for good.
1 John 29:10 Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble.
Lord, Help us live in your love and light.
Joy York is a wife to Grady, and mom to 3 amazing young ladies. Writing helps her sort through life. She enjoys hiking, napping, music, dancing and reading (not necessarily in that order). To balance the practical aspects of her nature she is attempting to invite more creativity and faith into each day. Some days that is easier than others. You can find more of her musings on joystuff at wordpress.org.