She sits hunched over in a wheelchair in the nursing home. Deep wrinkles around her eyes try unsuccessfully to hide behind the glasses sliding down her nose.
Her spotted hands lace together and rest in her lap. The snow-white fluff of hair attempts to cover most of her head. Though her health is waning and her hair is thinning, her mind is still solid.
A smile lights up her face as she looks up and sees a familiar face. Walking toward her is the pastor of her church where she spent many years volunteering. He always visits her on her birthday and, today, she is celebrating her 90th year.
He loves talking to her; he always leaves encouraged and uplifted. He greets her with a hug and “happy birthday.” Sitting down next to her, he asks her to tell him her heart’s desire at each milestone of her life.
She looks off as though stretching her mind back in time to grab a handful of thoughts.
“I was raised in a Christian home but I was a typical kid. Not always good,” she says, winking at the pastor. “Up through my teenage years, wish-dom was my life. I was selfish and only desired what would make me happy. I loved the verse, ‘Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.’ Back then, I didn’t realize what those words meant. I thought He would give me whatever I wanted.
“When I was in my 20s, I desired a husband and children. I was still selfish and thought they would make me happy. But happiness evaded me. Still, I clung to, ‘Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.’
“When I reached my 30s, I desired self-fulfillment, so I put my job first before my family. Happiness still seemed illusive and ‘Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart’ began to slip from my heart.
“In my 40s, I thought riches would bring me notoriety and fill that happiness gap. But I was wrong. And ‘Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart’ lost its meaning.
She stops to rest a little and catch her breath as the pastor waits patiently for her to continue.
“When I entered my 50s, I began to see myself as midway through life and wondered what I had accomplished or passed on to my family. I traded in my wishdom and began to desire wisdom and salvation for my family. Grandchildren came along and my heart softened. My passion grew once again for ‘Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.’
“In my 60s, I felt a deeper, spiritual sense of fulfillment and realized I was growing short on years. My desire was to give rather than get. I stood on, ‘Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.’”
“When I was in my 70s, it dawned me how rich I was because I had my family. ‘Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart’ became more and more meaningful to me.
“Then, I hit my 80s and realized how truly blessed I was to have lived such a remarkable life after all. Even in all my failings. And how happiness had been in my life all along. I just didn’t recognize it. God has shown Himself faithful even when I wasn’t. I finally understood that ‘He shall give you the desires of your heart’ meant He would place His desires within my heart. And now, the Lord is my heart’s desire. I wish I’d learned that when I was in my 20s.”
The pastor asks her, “And today? What is your heart’s desire for this birthday…to live ten more years?”
She laughs, “Oh, no! Don’t wish that on me!” She pauses and ponders. A smile slowly spreads across her sweet face, scrunching up her wrinkles. Her eyes sparkle. She blurts out, “John 12:21! I desire to see Jesus!”
What is your heart’s desire at this stage of your life? Is it John 12:21…to see Jesus?
“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”
***My daughter and SIL are visiting. Hope a rerun from 10/17/13 is okay. 😀