It seems like I've found myself in long hospital hallways filled with florescent light a lot lately. On Tuesday, I hovered outside the door as my nephew took his first breath and cried his sweet first cries.
The very next day, I found myself in another long florescent-lit hospital hallway, but this time it was in Texas- the rehab hospital in which my grandmother leans over her walker and works to recover from her run in with a hot towel and her subsequent stroke.
Of course, these were two very different hospital wings with very different patient populations, but one thing was for sure- both brand new little David and long lived 91-year-old Anita were beautiful.
My grandmother's eyes still sparkled even though they don't work well enough anymore to make out a picture of her new great-grandson. She was poised at her group speech therapy session as she introduced me proudly and properly with her signature spunk even as she struggled for the right words. The lines on her face run deep now but reveal a woman of joy, smiling and laughing more often than not over her 90+ years.
She faces her current struggles with hopeful expectancy even when it's hard.
Even though she had trouble standing tall in her walker, she worked hard and persevered revealing of the character she's carried all these years. She may have ten years of life on this side of eternity left or ten months- only the Lord knows- but she stands on this precipice with strength and dignity, unafraid. She seemed so content with a nap and her symphony hall of a hospital room.
And even though she doesn't carry grandchildren on her hip and make them cheese toast anymore, she still blesses them- even if it's just with a simple hand held squeeze and an encouraging word.
Of course, the struggles we will all experience at the end of life bring as much sorrow and heartache as the beginning of life brings joy- after our visit I cried all the way to my car remembering my Memaw as a much more agile and lively gal- but even now, her beauty shines through. It's not lost on me. No way.
No, beauty is much more than skin deep. It's a well deep within that will one Day break forth as we're revealed in Christ as who we really are- who He's made us to be.
Until then, her skin may be fragile and thin and her posture not quite straight, but I still see it.
She is stunning and I, yet again, witness His gifts in Anita Dent.
Thank you, Lord. She has been, and continues to be, a gift to us all.