During Christmas break, I sit in Mom’s house, a mile away from where she now lives in assisted living, an experience away from her new existence within the world of Alzheimer’s.
Shadows play against the wall. Sunset in Oklahoma still wins as my favorite part of the day.
I once climbed my special tree on the family farm, perched alone with my journal in one of my favorite spots, a nest of branches and limbs that held me safely as I watched the turquoise sky that framed the wheat field turn into a frame of orange and red.
Now within Mom’s house, I worship the creator of a new sunset as it changes a taupe wall to a natural painting of shadow on light.
The shadows grow deeper for Mom within her Alzheimer’s world even as they lengthen for my siblings and I. We observe Mom’s confusion and recognize more signs of the coming stages.
Our mother disappears into Alzheimer’s land. Our world changes once again as memory fades and communication alters.
Another 24 hours is spent, and I wonder about my own life, my own calendar of events. How should I live in this new year so that each sunset brings with it a contentment that I lived this day well, that I finished my course with joy and purpose?
How can I live so that when my own shadows lengthen and deepen, the light I have shared will be what is remembered – my legacy to the world for my God?
None of us is certain of our timelines. We can only attempt to do our best, to live and love and work with pride, to complete the tasks before us and honor the One who gives us the energy to work, to live and love.
We can only commit to a stronger and higher calling so that when the sunset comes, we will rejoice in the light that dances at the end of the day.
Anyone who knows me well understands why it is important for me to face the western sky at the end of the day.
I thrive on the colors and textures of sunsets.
One of the first things I want to do when I get to heaven is watch how God paints a different sunset every night. I imagine it looks even more amazing on the other side.
So each evening, I park myself in my rocker, the cat jumps on my lap and we prepare to worship God and his latest design. The other night, the cat and I took our positions, but all we saw was a tiny faint glow. On a scale of 10 for sunsets, it looked to be about 1.75. We watched the news for a while and did a few exercises, then looked at the sunset again.
What an amazing sight! God changed that tiny yellow to a fiery glow that spread its fingers into a mélange of golden shades. The colors peeked at us through our redbud tree and reminded us again – the cat and me – that the Divine Artist can redo any landscape.
So it is in our lives. Sometimes a tiny morsel of goodness appears. Someone sends a card with encouraging words. A publisher sends a contract. A friend, a real friend, “likes” us on Facebook.
That tiny nugget spreads hope, but then God comes along and explodes it into something better. He adds his touch and suddenly we feel connected to the Divine.
God is able to turn even the smallest events into a delightful surprise of joy.
All we have to do it keep watching and worship the One who makes it happen.