Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Texas Brownies

My husband came home from work last night at about 9 p.m. He'd been visiting a church member who is dying from liver cancer. She is the mother to a couple of high school kids. Her cancer is quite advanced and she is now sleeping 16-18 hours a day. When my dad died (age 47), liver cancer gradually took his waking hours until finally, he breathed his last.

Anyway, what struck me is that my husband brought home a plate of perfectly square, frosted, Texas brownies (you know, the kind that are more like cake than a brownie). How remarkable that this dying woman spent some of her precious time awake preparing a small gift for the pastor and his family.

A man at church was diagnosed very recently with lymphoma. His cancer is quite advanced, as well, and although he is going through chemotherapy, the prognosis is not good. Yet, two weeks ago, there he was at church, smiling, asking me how I was. He is maybe 61 years old, which used to seem "elderly" to me. Not anymore.

My grandmother turned 98 last week. She has lost her vision, her entire leg from hip to knee aches all day long with arthritis and bone loss, and she barely hobbles around her perfectly-kept, tidy home. Yet, when I was there, she insisted that I take home some of her birthday flowers. She prays for me every day. She sends me twenty-five dollars for each birthday.

My neighbor picks up my kindergartener for school every day. She brings him home every day. She does this with a smile and perky enthusiasm.

I am so thankful for the small kindness of these people. I am awed by the generosity and selflessness of people who have every right to complain and to be bitter and to rage against the injustice of their circumstances.

I hope I will make visitors brownies when I am facing my death. I want to be that kind of person.

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