“…And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
There is something metaphorical about this verse, but I tell you this: it is absolutely tangible and metaphysical! Not only pretty words, but very real too.
Let me share what I’ve witnessed.
My dear grandmother is almost 96 years old and quite frail. As to be expected, her memory is failing and her timeline is a bit disorganized. Spending time with this remarkable woman is awe inspiring and humbling, as in my 48 years on earth I’ve never once heard her complain or question Life’s tough events. She had now lost her parents, all her siblings, husband and both her daughters. She accepts Life as it presents itself and focusses on the good.
To illustrate her attitude and gratitude, the story of what she did at my aunt’s (her last remaining child) funeral needs to be told. The minister was kind enough to lead a service at the old age home where my grandmother lives. After the formality, we took Ouma for tea and sweets to her favourite coffee shop. She cannot speak very loudly, so I was tasked relaying her words in my louder voice for everyone to hear. What she said left me speechless.
“Thank you all for being here with me today. I sit here and look around me at the faces of people I love and am filled with gratitude. How can I not be happy when I’ve been blessed with so much love?” This was her message at her daughter’s funeral! Incredible.
At the time she spoke these words her mind was still clear and her focus was a choice; a mind-bogglingly brave one, yet, still a choice.
The miracle I desire to share happened three weeks ago. The matron at the old age home called my sister who lives in the same town as Ouma to ask us to come. The time for her to go is near. Wild horses would not be able to keep me away, so I rushed to join in the final greeting.
My sister and her husband walked into the room and Ouma squinted a bit in order to focus on the people entering. She first spoke to Janus, asking who he was. Patiently he answered. She then looked at my sister and Ouma said: “I don’t know who you are. All I know is that I love you very much.”
What makes these words so powerful, is that they are not borne for choice, because her mind cannot choose anymore. The love she recognized was in her heart. When all cognition fell away, the greatest of faith, hope and love remained: Love.
Love remains and it is very very real. Love is the miracle!