Margaret, a sweet, tiny lady in her mid-nineties, bears no hint today of the athlete she once was. I’m told she ran marathons, and together, she and her husband embraced the great outdoors with passion. We even have a shooting range named after him in our town.
Though I’ve never seen it for myself, I hear she has a room full of medals and trophies in her basement, trinkets of a time long before the oxygen machine moved in next to her recliner.
Today I visited her bedside in a hospice facility. She lay there straining for each breath completely unaware of my presence. I’ve only met her twice: once on her 96th birthday and again when I accompanied my husband making his rounds to the sweet shut-ins of our little church.
I doubt she would have known who I was had she opened her eyes to see, but there I sat, watching her pass each breath in sleep. Todd texted me, “How’s it going?”
He’s come to love this lady, and her family had not made it all the way here from New York yet. He was worried she’d be alone in her final moments and wanted to make sure someone was in the room with her until family arrived.
“Do I wake her?” I asked. “It’s your call, but she might enjoy some hymns,” he responded.
I pulled a chair up to her bed and searched church hymn lyrics on my smart phone, a stark contrast to the little flip phone that lay on her hospital cart. I started singing “In the sweet by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore…” followed by “It is well with my soul.” I knew that one was true for Margaret.
Curious eyes peeked through the door, but by then, my eyes closed, and the words rushed back to me from half a century of worship. Finally, “The Old Rugged Cross” scrolled to the top of the list, and as I started singing the chorus, “So I’ll cherish the old rugged Cross
Till my trophies at last I lay down,” I realized Margaret’s beloved trophies would have a place, not the trophies earned in marathons, but the ones earned in prayer and sacrifice, giving and loving on her family and neighbors and church.
I can’t imagine myself at 96, but if ever I had an example to follow, she rests in a hospital bed tonight surrounded by her family who love her and want her at peace. Their hearts will break, but they’ll hold her memory in their hearts forever as she soon departs this earth and lays her trophies at the feet of her Savior.
…and that’s the view from My Front Porch.