Transcendent Love

I write this from my mother’s beside in hospice. After Mom was transported to the ER on Wednesday morning, a CAT scan revealed a hemorrhage inside her brain. She suffered hours of extreme pain, but regained movement and seemed to be improving. However, by Thursday morning, it was clear she wouldn’t recover. In the afternoon, she was carried to hospice, where our extended family has taken up vigil.

Janie and Mom at Hospice House
Janie and Mom at Hospice House

When we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, our own, or the shared journey of a loved one, the tyranny of the urgent goes to a corner.

Even breathing takes on a different rhythm.

Like the brilliance of the sun on the snow after a blizzard, true values rise up in our clear vision.

What I see astounds me.

If you’ve read my Glimpses for long, you have journeyed with me through some of the long healing process from the scars of my childhood.

Each person in our family has good reason to nurse their scars and protect the wound.

Instead, this week, love has transcended every decision, conversation, gathering. As voice messages pour in from Switzerland and NJ, emails and text messages from Maryland, Ohio and Texas, and anyone in driving distance joins the vigil, it is clear that our “Mommom” is a magnet for us all.

In spite of failings and her own hidden pain, she has loved us. Given us a sense of our true selves. Helped us to be real. (Read The Velveteen Rabbit.)

Mom has four living children, 10 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren who love her, but her greater legacy is the ability to transcend hardships, difficulties, differences, and yet love. To put aside preferences and pride. To seek the good of the other. To laugh in spite of grief, to hug and not retreat. To share the gift of tears.

So we sit by her side, at the moment simply listening to her breaths and watching her chest rise and fall, and savor her presence, her life.

Earlier today, as I wrote out my reflections on her life, I realized that transcendent love sprang from my little brother’s death, sixty years ago, which shook Mom’s world and cleared her vision. She ran to the Savior she’d been ignoring for many years. She’s been running that race ever since.

LOVE in her has become love through her. Reckless, transcendent love.