Cindy's title

Cindy's pictureI have just had a very personal, moving experience of what it means to give without any expectation of return or response; to give in a pure, unconditional, unselfish way as God and Jesus have given their love and sustenance to mankind without expectation of reciprocation.

The experience occurred while taking care of my mother who has dementia. In over two weeks of almost daily care I gradually accepted the fact that she could not remember what we had done the day before, or even hours before. Worse than that, she did not “know” who I was. A couple of times, after coaching her, she remembered my name; but she could not tell me I was her daughter. However, I believe she “knows” me, even though she could not state the relationship. She was always happy to see me and sad to see me go. The time we spent together was precious to me and to her, even though she could not have told you later. I know she was happy when I was with her. We talked and laughed and went shopping so she could see all the “pretty things.” She expressed appreciation and love for me when we were together, but (and here is the rub) she had no mental recollection of it later.

Who is to say however, that her soul was not enriched by the experience? She knew I loved her and she was happy for me to be with her because she felt it and responded in kind. What does it matter that she could not remember it later. I believe that somewhere inside the soul, separate from her mind, she knew she was loved (see Romans 8:26–27 and 1 Corinthians 2:10–11).

Because persons in her mental state cannot tell you what happened to them earlier, or who they were with does not mean that there is no reason to give them your love, attention, and time. It is appreciated in the moment and time it is being given, even if it is not verbalized. The fact that it is not remembered later is sad for the giver, but the receiver is still blessed by experiencing the sharing of love and kindness. Godly love transcends our mental state. It is more powerful than that—it touches our soul (Ephesians 3:18–19).

Photo: Patty Gibson

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