Tuesday, August 22, 2006

i’m hungry

Many of you have read my incoherent ramblings concerning my mother, as I try to somehow deal with what it means and how it can be understood in a somewhat rational way. As was likely, I have failed miserably. But I have kept on.

I saw my mother again with my dad, with the entire visit lasting barely five minutes. Just like in April, she didn’t recognize me. Yet somehow the shock truly registered this time. She doesn’t know me. Wow. I had, in the course of reflecting on my previous visit, underestimated the power of not remembering. I wholly recognized it that day.

As is usual for odd workings of chance (i.e. the Holy Spirit), I ended up at a service later in the evening at Texas State, where I heard a sermon about the physicality of the body and blood of Jesus. In the assigned lesson, Jesus tells his disciples that unless they “eat my body and drink my blood”, they have no part in him. Interesting words. Pastor Lou mentioned the beauty in this charge, namely that those who do not have the mental capacity to contemplate the majesty and wonder of Christ can still receive him. All they have to do is eat and drink. This is especially compelling with those that can do little but.

When we arrived at the nursing home, Mom was eating heartily, her chapped lips opening and closing seemingly at random, waiting for the spoon to arrive. Her mind is done grasping the mundane details of life – she is concerned with nourishing her body. I guess when the mind is all but gone, the need to pay attention to its physical partner is all the more necessary.

Ours is not a faith that requires anything but the grace of God. I think that word takes on new meaning when applied to someone who, in all probability, has no idea about the importance placed on the sacrament of communion in the first place. She must simply eat and drink, fulfilling the most basic of human needs.

And what a beautiful example of God’s love for us. It crosses all the physical and illusory boundaries that we create to separate and divide us, yes. But it also crosses the seemingly impassable fortress of the mind in order to fill us. Stripped of our intellectual capacity, we can still receive the body and blood.

Pastor Lou ended his sermon by asking us to ponder the age-old phrase, “You are what you eat.” I would like to think that my mother illustrates this perfectly. She, although crippled by a monstrously invisible disease, can, in a subtle but powerful way, become that which she eats: a beautiful and loved child of God.

1 Comments:

At 11:03 PM , Anonymous Bethany said...

How I love you Jason! And your amazing insights into life and faith... You are perfectly articulating your own thoughts and faith... And I am confident that these next four years will be nothing but great for you... thinking of you ~ sending you peace...

 

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