Hiding the Words

During a recent hospital stay, my mother needed extra supervision. So, to give my sister a break from the constant strain of caregiving, I opted to stay with Mom in the hospital.

One morning, Mom seemed especially agitated so I asked her, “What’s your favorite Psalm?”

“Oh, probably 23,” she said.

In my purse, I always carry a small Bible so I pulled it out and started reading from the English Standard Version.

Mom nodded her head, but then looked puzzled as I read, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.”

Mom peered at me from the sides of her trifocals and said, “I was thinking about the words while you read them. I thought it should be ‘Yea, though I walk through the valley.’”

“You’re right, Mom. You learned it from the King James Version which says, ‘Yea, though I walk.’”

Later, as she napped, I tried to smooth out the wrinkles in her hand. Such fragile skin. Almost no muscle or fat left on her entire body – this woman who once stood 5’8” tall and carried herself with self-respect and grace. This nurse who wore a cross necklace under her uniform to remind herself that she belonged to Jesus.

Somewhere deeper than the shadows of Alzheimer’s, entire passages of the Bible lay cached in my mother’s soul. Places where the beauty of the King James Version still lies, where a beloved Psalm is protected within a sacred compartment.

Those verses we learn as children and repeat as adults stay with us. In the repository that only God knows how to enter, the basics of our faith do not fail us – even when we forget our loved ones, even when we lose our language, even when we walk through the valley of death.

What a treasure to know that my mother’s faith still stands firm, based on the Word of God which has not failed her and never will.

King David confirmed it in Psalm 119, “I have hidden your word in my heart.”

And now my mother lives it, the truth of hiding God’s word so deeply in her heart that nothing on earth can steal it away.

0 thoughts on “Hiding the Words”

  1. As time passed my Dad, an Alzheimer patient of 13 years, forgot almost everything. He could no longer recognize any of his children. Even his wife of 59 years, had become a stranger to him. However, every night before he laid down to sleep, he would recite the 23rd Psalm. On his last night he recited the Psalm, told my Mom he loved her, and then fell into sleep from which he never awoke. Thanks be to God.

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