Still Able to Bless

2-7By Candy Brayton of Independence, Missouri, USA

For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

—Isaiah 55:12

I was working in the bookstore at the Temple in Independence, Missouri, when Jack walked in. My family had known him for years. He was an evangelist and had a gifted ministry.

Greeting him by name, I expected recognition. He looked puzzled, so I reminded him who my parents were. The confusion didn’t abate, and he seemed hesitant to speak. He turned to the woman who had accompanied him for help. She was his daughter. We discussed how I had come to know him.

She explained that he had Alzheimer’s disease. It had progressed to where it affected his ability to speak. I told him I understood, and it was OK he didn’t remember me. He gave me a shy smile and reached out to give my hand a reassuring squeeze.

As his daughter looked around the store, he stayed at the counter. He showed interest in a display of wooden boxes, and pewter pieces. I showed him how to open the box, and we discovered how five pieces would fit in it. There were words written on the pieces, and he spent some time picking out ones he liked.

The daughter returned to the counter with her purchase and asked Jack if he wanted the box and pieces. He shook his head, and yet purposefully pushed them toward me. Neither she, nor I, understood what he was trying to say.

After they left, I was putting the items back in the display. I finally noticed the writing on the ones he had chosen. The pieces in the box said, hope, love, faith, and the last said healing and had a picture of an eagle on it. Finally understanding his message, I bought them.

That was the last time I saw Jack. Despite his failing health, he still was able to bless others with his ministry.

Prayer for Peace
Tender Shepherd, heal our spirits. Even when we are experiencing disabilities, may we continue to bless as we are blessed. May we continue to share Christ’s peace.

Spiritual Practice: Honoring God’s Call to Others
Reflect on God’s call in your life. Quietly reflect on the moments when you have experienced God’s presence and invitation to expand your gifts. Write in your journal or quietly reflect on images and insights that come. When have you experienced God through the calling and gifts of others? How do your gifts connect with the call of God you notice in your family, friends, congregation, or community?

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will recognize the blessings of others and express my appreciation.

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