She wanted to go Home. She really, really wanted to go Home.
Her name was Beulah, but we called her Bets.
And while Bets waited, she was gracious in her smiles, and she was grateful for her days.
She also sewed.
On the days (and sometimes nights) I stayed with Bets, I looked forward to caring for her. It was a respite from other responsibilities, and she was always grateful. The pace was slower than at my house, and we’d rock and visit.
She shared stories about her childhood, her courtship, and her early marriage. She told stories about her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren. She loved her family, and she was grateful for their care.
Yes, Bets was always grateful.
“Thank you for helping me,” she’d say after a caregiver had done something for her.
“Thank you for combing my hair.”
And, as a caregiver would head off duty and another one came in, Bets would bid farewell, saying, “Thank you for what you did for me today.”
She was ninety-six, and she felt it was time to go Home. In Heaven, there were people waiting for her. Jesus was waiting, and she knew Him personally, for she had walked with Him for many, many years. She wanted to see Jesus, and she wanted to go Home.
Her husband of seventy-one years was waiting. Her almost-six-year-old son Richard who died in an accident was waiting. An adult son Daniel who had drowned in 2006 was waiting. Her parents and a sister were waiting. Grandparents, cousins, and friends were waiting.
She’d been here long enough, she felt. It was time to go Home.
We talked about that one morning.
That morning I picked up her Bible to read to her, and I noticed that it was just like one I had previously owned. I told her the story of my Bible. It had dropped to the ground when we arrived home from church one evening. By morning, the dogs had enjoyed pieces of my Bible, all the way from Genesis through the Psalms and Revelation. Especially Revelation. The dogs had practically devoured Revelation.
She especially liked my description of my dogs having chewed their way through Revelation. Oh, how I enjoyed her laughter!
After the laughter had died down, we read from her Bible, and we talked about unanswered prayers (her prayer to go Home.)
“Bets,” I told her, “You can’t say that God hasn’t answered your prayer. God always answers prayer. Sometimes He says Yes, sometimes He says No, and sometimes He says, Wait; not now.”
“I guess He’s saying, “Wait; not now,” she murmured.
So while she waited for the Not Now to become Now! she sewed.
And she was grateful.
While she longed for Heaven, she found things for which to be thankful here.
“Thank you for fixing my breakfast,” or “Thank you for helping me get dressed,” or a simple “Thank you for helping me.”
She also found something to do.
Rather than pining for Heaven and rather than pouting here, she found something she could do.
She could continue to sew.
Sixty years ago, Bets founded the sewing circle at her church. At ninety-six, she still sewed. Blocks for comforter tops were stitched together on her machine. Hundreds of comforters have been sent to other countries through CAM (Christian Aid Ministries) because of Bets and her sewing circle. During her healthy years, she pieced (sewed together) an average of fifteen comfort tops a year.
When I remember those piles of blocks sewn together into nine-piece squares, I remember her grateful heart. And I determine to remember to find things for which I can be grateful.
Maybe in her waiting, God’s purpose was to teach us to remember to be grateful.
Perhaps He intended that we learn, in our waiting, to find things we can do for others who need our gifts.
We filled her bobbins and threaded her needle, and she continued, while waiting, to sew.
Her waiting is finally over. God’s answer has changed to Yes.
Her sewing machine sits silent.
Bets is finally Home!
In 2012, I wrote His Tenor Voice is Silent about Bets’ husband Ira. To read it, you can go to Notes on my facebook page. Click here to get to that link.