I type in the code. Beep, beep, beep: Access Granted. Electric doors slide slowly open and I see him sitting at a table. I see him before he sees me. White hair, pin-striped blue shirt, chipped front tooth. And my heart swells with affection.
“Hello Bobby,” I say, wrapping my arms around him, whispering in his ear, “I’m your granddaughter, Amy, and I love you very much.”
Blank eyes flood with the recognition that I belong to him, that I’m a part of him still. He takes my hand, kisses it.
“Hello, darling.” To me, there’s no nicer greeting in the world.
We sit together, holding hands as we sip tea. I think how love goes deeper than the remembrance of the mind. For love is imprinted, not in the mind, but in the heart. Not even a fading mind can wash away the remembrance of love.
I sit with Bobby and talk to him about his family, reminding him how special he is to us. I show him an old Father’s Day card. He keeps looking at its cover. His fingers run over the bright coloured words: To our wonderful Granddad from your Grandchildren.
“Grandchildren,” he says, dabbing tears from his eyes. His quiet voice speaks with clarity. “We have been very blessed.”
He breathes in deeply and breaks out in prayer, “Thank you, Heavenly Father. Thank you, Heavenly Father.”
I begin to see Bobby differently. Outwardly, he appears to be the weakest member of our family. But inwardly, he is the strongest. In our weakness, God’s strength is perfected. How foolish I was to think that when I visit the nursing home it’s to bring encouragement to him. When he’s the one who prays for me, strengthens me, loves on me.
When names and words and places and memories escape Bobby’s recollection, his faith remains unscathed.
Jesus took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them saying, “This is My body which is given for you: Do this in remembrance of Me.” (Luke chapter 22, verse 19)
In remembrance of Me. That’s how Bobby lives. In remembrance of his Jesus who broke the bread so we too would break in remembrance. Love will always break us into fragments when we are given for each other. That’s how love is multiplied. Jesus broke upon the cross because of love. When much is temporarily forgotten Bobby still remembers the unwavering and unending love of God.
We hold each other in a hug that never wants to let go. I kiss Bobby’s brow. He whispers, “God bless, darling.” And together we’re locked in remembrance.
The Gospel makes no sense to my mind: a love that was broken so we can be whole, the Holy becoming our sins so we can be free and forgiven, a life that died so we can live. It’s a message that offends everything the world strives so hard to obtain. As Bobby and I hold each other in prayer, we remember this love together. Inwardly, I hear these words: The mind cannot comprehend what the heart already knows. Love cannot be contained by reason.
And I know Love is a memory that is never lost.
Amy is a Press Service International writer from Adelaide. Her previous articles can be read here: http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/amy-manners.html