“Do not work for food that perishes but for
the food that endures for eternal life…”
From John 6:27
On a recent Saturday morning, I whispered a prayer of gratitude for my sister’s generosity in hosting our family gathering that day. Rita is always willing to open her doors for an afternoon or a few days or longer when out-of-town family comes to visit. I added another prayer of thanks that this particular gathering would acknowledge this month’s family birthdays rather than less joyful events. I had recently visited a friend who has begun hospice care. His diagnosis, symptoms and treatment were far too familiar. As I climbed into the car, my thoughts turned to four years ago when Rita’s generosity was seemingly stretched to its limits…
Our younger sister had received a cancer diagnosis which required a serious regimen of chemotherapy. Rita lives south of where our sister lived, so she assumed the role of her chauffeur to and from treatments. Since I lived to the east of the “action”, I met them at the treatment center. Though I willingly offered moral support, Rita had taken on the brunt of the driving. While the weather had cooperated with her efforts earlier on, snow complicated many of these treks back and forth.
Through all of this, my sister Rita simply dug in her heals to help. “This needs to be done,” she said, “So I’m here.” Tired as she was, my sister assisted our sibling for as long as she was needed. How fitting it was that she was the one present when our sister breathed her last.
Dear God, thank you for Rita and for all who choose to “be there” for those who need them most.
©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved