A young boy has a vision impairment. His mother takes him to an optometrist. The boy looks through his prescription glasses. He sees the world differently than he ever has before.
A woman is born colorblind. She has never seen all the colors of the rainbow. On her birthday her husband has given her a pair of EnChroma glasses. She puts on the eyeglasses. She is no longer blind to all the colors of the world God gifted her. She chokes up, cries, and hugs her husband. How she looks at the world around her will never be the same.
The mother and the husband gave gifts to son and wife, respectively. Just think what they, as givers, without expectation, received in return by giving.
God’s love is like that isn’t it? By that love, we see life, death, others, and ourselves with heavenly eyes, not with human eyes. We see living our lives as spiritual journeys. By God’s love, our vision of the world is transformed in profound, contradictory, and unexplainable ways.
With heavenly eyes, we see a much different world in which we live, love, and die. Things are turned inside out. Upside down. Death becomes life. A weakness becomes your greatest strength. The loss of something or someone is transformed into your biggest gain. A precious, sacrificial gift given by a daughter to her dying devoted mother in home hospice care becomes a gift from God. A final, never forgotten, unexpected gift from mother to daughter.
That daughter is my friend Donna who lives in Palacios, Texas. Donna’s mother Tina died at 3:00 am. on February 27, 2023. Friday, Dorothy and I got in my old Honda van which has more bruises than an old banana. On this beautiful Spring-like day, we drove South down Highway 59 to El Campo. Turning left, we made our way down Highway 71. We passed by the spider lily- lined ditches. The roadsides laced with little yellow flowers. Driving passed Danevang, the cotton fields had been plowed and seeded for the harvests of late summer. An army of tall, side-rolling irrigation sprinklers were seen marching and raining down on acres and acres of St. Augustine grass farms.
We pulled into the parking lot at Taylor Funeral Home for the services. Taylor Funeral Home is the blue-collar equivalent of George H. Lewis in Houston. There are funeral homes like this in small towns across America. Homes in which local folk who are the backbone of our country celebrate the lives of people like Tina. The small chapel was overflowing with a crowd of people Tina had touched in ways that made a big difference in their lives. If I had not brought my wheelchair, I may not have had a place to sit.
Donna bravely spoke about what she had done for her mother Tina. Because of a stroke, Tina had been living in an elder care center. As Tina was to receive hospice care, she asked her daughter Donna to discharge her from the center and bring her to Donna’s home. Donna wondered whether she could do it. Her mom said, “We can make it happen together.” Donna found strength in her mom’s encouragement.
Soon, she and her husband Kenny, moved Tina to their home. Placed her in a hospital bed. Made her as comfortable as possible. With Kenny’s and God’s help, Donna gave her mom the gift of constant companionship, care, and love until death came. Tina’s children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren often visited her as Tina waited for the homecoming to be with her God forever.
For six days and nights, Donna gave that gift to her mom. She feed, bathed, clothed, and met her mom’s personal needs in every way. Donna crawled into the small bed and slept with Tina. Donna embraced her mom’s final breath. At that very moment at 3:00 am. Kenny heard a gust of wind outside the home as if the wings of angels lifted Tina’s spirit heavenward into the arms of God.
Donna said, “I thought, in granting my mom’s wish to go home, I was giving mom a precious gift. However, now I know that Mom was the one giving me the gift. That’s just like my mother.” God made sure the gift giver received the gift. In God’s view, the one who gave love was the one who received it.
God has spoken in Scripture as to giving and receiving.
You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake.
Let us pray.
God, please transform and open the eyes of my heart by Your love. That I might see as You see. That underneath the world and others I see with human eyes, may I see You. Angels. Signs You have placed before me as Your child.
God, with an enlightened heart, may I see the purpose You have for me. That in my sacrificial service to a parent, family member, friend, or stranger in need, may I be the giver of a gift who receives the gift of Your love to me. Amen
If you think Jack’s prayer helps you or will help someone you know, please forward it to them. Jack may never make millions selling books or writing prayers, but spreading God’s good news to others is reward enough for him.
Ann Boland, Jack’s Publicist
Rebecca Johnson says
Thanks for the Gift Giver. As I lay in my hospital bed once again, I am ‘encouraged by your words. The Gift can come from family members, nurses, doctors or a friend with encouraging words that you may need at the moment. Keep encouraging.