FIRST-PERSON: At Mother's bedside

LOUISVILLE, Ohio (BP)--At my mother's bedside the other day, there wasn't much to do.

She's nearly 93, in a nursing home in Ohio, seemingly in the last stages of Alzheimer's.

She's been sleeping much of the time. At times when she awakened, she mumbled a few unintelligible phrases. Twice, she gave a hint of a laugh for maybe two seconds. And twice, she waved at me, if it can be called a wave, by wiggling her fingers in response to seeing mine wiggled in her direction. Her eyes, once an amazing bright green, were sadly dimmed.

Sitting there, watching her sleep, I decided to resume efforts I had been making to re-memorize some of the Scriptures that once were known by heart but had faded from memory.

My collection of Scriptures in spiral-bound note cards was opened to Colossians 3:23-24: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for man, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."

I repeated each phrase in my mind four or five times. And then one phrase took on unforgettable meaning -- "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart. ..."

It wasn't just a matter of doing my best at the workplace.

At my mother's bedside, periodically trying to interact with her, periodically praying, periodically rehearsing a forgotten Scripture, being there as she was taking some of her last breaths on this earth, I can do these things -- with the Lord's help -- with all my heart.


Art Toalston is editor of Baptist Press. For the essence of embracing a heart-transforming faith, go to www.whativaluemost.com and enter Art Toalston's name to find out more. For an additional description of new birth, also go to an earlier column by Toalston at http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=34079.

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