I talked to Jo from her hospital bed this morning. I called more because I needed my own faith strengthened than because I thought I had something of encouragement for her.
Jo is 90 years old. She has been a faithful member of our weekly prayer group for years. Her own prayer request has usually been for her daughter who has ridden a roller coaster called cancer. There were weeks when it looked like physical health would prevail but now we know that the relentless intruder has been detected in her daughter’s brain and after the current series of radiation she will qualify for hospice.
At the same time, Jo has learned that she herself has both lung and liver cancer. This was hard for her to process because she hasn’t felt “that sick.”
Knowing this diagnosis and knowing that Jo lives alone in her condominium, I asked her last week what her thoughts were for how she would be taken care of if she couldn’t manage on her own. Her answer surprised me. She said, “I have never given it a thought.”
I began working with her on potential alternatives for care but before we could establish plans I received a call that she had been admitted to the hospital again, this time for kidney failure. Since Jo only has one kidney this opens hospice care for her, as well.
“Guess what, Roselyn?” She spoke with a hint of joy in her voice. “My daughter and I are going to be able to go to the same hospice!”
I realize that it requires a stretch to see this as a silver lining, but let me share Jo’s perspective on what is happening. (She has granted me permission to tell this story.) Here are excerpts from Jo’s testimony as she prepares for hospice transfer.
“We don’t need to make plans, God does. He’s working everything out; He knows what I need and what I don’t need. I talked to my daughter last night and her ex-husband (whom I love) and her son were with her at the hospital. It makes my heart sing. I will be with her in heaven.”
Jo came to know Jesus personally in 1978. She was working at a job she hated when she heard a voice say, “What are you doing here?” She turned around to see who was talking to her and there was no one there. When she told her husband (now deceased) of the experience he said, “Why don’t you quit?” That is what she did and it freed her to attend a bible study and be mentored by a Christian neighbor.
When I asked Jo whom she thought the voice was, she said she had been told it was the Holy Spirit.
Now at 90 years old, having outlived all of her siblings, her husband and her only son, she is finding footprints of Jesus as she prepares to enter a hospice on the same day as her only daughter will also be a patient there.
God grant that I will find His footprints when my story looks shattered to me and may those who watch my life hear my heart singing.
What footprints of faith are you seeing today?