She telephoned as drowsy day drifted to dark, and asked, Could you please come tomorrow?
I paused silent, and surveyed the calendar by the phone. How could I cram another thing into the little box of the next day, pencil-scratched clear full with all of my “to-do?”
She interrupted the quiet. “Jennifer, It’s OK, truly. I’ll call the others.”
“I’m so sorry …” I said, and the phone went back on the cradle.
But in morning’s light, the calendar box held more white space than I’d remembered the night before. The Spirit’s whisper nudged within: “By all means: Go!” And who can say no to God?
So I Facebooked her and asked, What time? And, she said the six of us would meet at the nursing home at 2 p.m.
I told her I might be a bit late, but — yes, yes! — I’d be there.
I showed up 10 minutes late. Anna and I followed the laughter to find the room, dappled in sunlight reflecting off wheelchair-chrome and a mylar “Happy Birthday” balloon. (One of the women was celebrating her 96th.)
Sandy, the friend who had telephoned, was calling out the Bingo numbers on the microphone.
“B-16. Does anyone have B-16?”
And someone bellows: “Sweet sixteen and never been kissed!” Their shoulders shake when they snicker, and my daughter gets the giggles, too.
“B-18,” Sandy calls out. “B-18. Anybody remember when you were 18?”
Katherine shouts from her wheelchair: “I DO!”
Sandy asks: “What would you do if you were 18 again, Katherine?”
Katherine says she’d pick more daisies, and dance barefoot in the rain, and fish with a worm. Then she throws her head back with laughter. And the room reverberates with contagious joy.
Yes, that’s who Katherine would be
if she could do it all over again. She’d be
the daisy-picker and the dancer.
And aren’t those the very things that never fit on our to-do lists or inside the crammed calendar boxes?
What if every day I awoke to ask the Lord not what I ought to DO this day, but who I ought to be?
And He would always say: “I want you to be Jesus to someone today. I want you to be Love and a carrier of my Joy.”
If we’d just slow ourselves down enough to be…
If we’d just make fewer to-do lists, and more to-be lists.
If we’d do that, we’d turn to find the surprise: that the little white calendar boxes had room after all. We’d find, quite unexpectedly, that this is the place we were supposed to be all along.
We’d find that our most important to-dos were actually the things that awakened us into who God made us to be.
PHOTOS: From our visit to the nursing home. Thank you Sandy, for daily showing me what it means “to be…”
May our lives be filled with moments that awaken us to who God calls us to be: reflections of Jesus and carriers of His joy.