Ramblings from the Cove...
April 1, 2014
By Lars Gren
A Memorable Morning
The dawn had broken, yet it was still an hour or a bit more before Christi and Kea would enter the room to start the process of getting Elisabeth ready for the day. She had been chattering a bit as she lay on her side and continued doing so while I was doing something with the previous day's mail. She quieted down and I became aware that she was looking at me, so I rolled the desk chair over to the side of the bed. Reaching for my hand, she drew it close to her and with the other hand stroked my arm while at the same time trying to twist my thumb off from the hand. Elisabeth has the odd--can we say--quirk of trying to separate fingers from the hand or twisting the forearm, thinking perhaps that it would slip out from the elbow joint. If it would, I just wonder what she had in mind to do with it next. She tired soon of that game and then took my right hand and placed it so that my palm, rather than the pillow, became the resting place for her cheek and chin. There she was quietly eyeing me while holding on to one finger. For some moments she drifted off towards sleep, but then opened her eyes, looking at me.
It was the 4th of March and the Daily Light lay on the desk. I reached for it with my left hand, not wanting to remove the right hand for she seemed comfortable with her head resting in it. I looked into her eyes and said, "I'll read the Daily Light for us." As a rule, when I read she will listen some and then often chatter a bit and I may say, "Shhh, listen, here is a Word--here is what God says." The theme verse was, "Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth." As I read through what happens to the treasures of the earth--the rust--moth--the thieves--all lost, as opposed to walking by faith, she had not quite settled down. Then I read, "though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen." (On this portion she had her eyes set, listening as though it was coming to her from the past.) "For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. An inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away reserved in heaven for you."
She was still with me, listening, and so I said, "You often mentioned some of these verses when you spoke at various seminars on the trials of life, whether it was Suffering, Loneliness, Broken Relationships, heartaches of one kind or another, and you would stretch your arms out to the side and illustrate to the audience, saying to them, 'Just imagine this to be the type of a scale that assayers used, and you put all your troubles on one side and the gift of God's grace on the other side'--then you would lift one arm and let the other drop and say--'on such a scale your troubles would be as feathers compared to His grace in the midst of the trial you are going through.'" Her eyes told the truth that she had been taking it in after that first "shhh," so I added, "Just think, there is a home for you in heaven--reserved for you--after all of this, whatever the troubles might be or have been."
I had a short prayer and I heard her breathing getting softer, and by "amen" she was in a light sleep and so she lay in the palm of my hand for the brief time until Christi and Kea arrived to begin the morning ritual of getting her up. If you're surprised at her falling asleep while I pray, let me say that with any prayer beyond a blessing for a meal, the dozing off is apt to happen. If I ask whether or not I bore her, there is no response, so I accept it as being normal without feeling slighted.
We are now in Charleston, South Carolina for a few days, having left the AIM center with the thoughts of returning to the Cove about the 5th of April. It seems hard to think that we were there for seven weeks or so; we enjoyed the balmy days, rather than the northeast snow. This year, as opposed to the last visit we made, we took our main meal in the dining room and thus had the opportunity to meet many of the retired missionaries. I'll not mention anyone specifically, but it is amazing how they carry on: those who choose can meet for a 10 o'clock coffee on Mondays and Thursdays, and then there are programs in the afternoon, plus Bible studies and prayer groups that meet almost daily. The most astounding fact to take in is the one Kea read in one of the notices, that corporately they contributed 2300 years of missionary work between the 80-some residents living there, most of it in Kenya, Congo, Sudan, Uganda, and one other country that I can't think of now, plus countries outside of Africa. I don't know about you, but for us to think on that amount of years was staggering.
God bless y’all and that’s it from The Cove.
Lars & Elisabeth