I do not remember her name—only that she was ancient when I was taken to her house by my mother—against my will. And I was good and mad about it.
You see, as a kid, old folks always seemed to have a way of making me feel very uncomfortable. They always wanted to know a few things about me and then would start a conversation with me, then my mom would say something motherish, and I’d just stand there looking like I couldn’t wait for it to be over. Our church was full of old people, it seemed, and I was really quite tired of always being schlepped to their houses so my mom could bring them food or tend to their hair or just sit and talk. Why involve me?
And so, I was trying to get through another visit with as little attention on me as possible when it occurred to me that this particular lady might have just been the oldest of all the old people my mom ever took me to. In fact, she might just have been the oldest person I had ever seen.
She was little and frail and pale and very soft spoken. When she and mom talked, it was the only sound in her painfully quiet house, except for the grandfather clock ticking in the background. It did cross my mind that she was so old she may die soon. But if you want to know the truth, I thought I might beat her to it. I was so bored.
Other than that, there was nothing special to remember about our time with the lady except for one thing. When my mom excused herself to use the bathroom, the lady, who was sitting at her kitchen table, turned toward her Bible, removed her glasses and replaced them with a pair that had lenses an inch thick, then brought a magnifying glass right up to them, and then leaned over her Bible far enough to where she nearly had her face on it. And there, with just moments before my mom would return, she, with great effort, read the Word of God as if drawing, like a vacuum cleaner, words of life from the page.
That image of the lady who barely had enough strength to stand up, using all her energy to read the Bible has stayed with me ever since. It really is only now, in my middle age, as the Word of God has come alive to me that I understand what I saw that day. The Bible is a never-ending well. The more one reads it, the more one can find. And found in every word is another example of God’s unfailing love for his people.
I didn’t expect much from that afternoon at her house. All I got was an introduction to the most important thing in life.