The sun caught a tiny droplet as it slipped over a crease from the corner. It made its way down the canyon of lines time had carved. I could almost predict the place it would land. I knew it would eventually evaporate rather than be absorbed. The leathery skin was long past supple – and so were some of the places in her heart.
This afternoon was different. Something about our conversation struck a chord – a distant memory brought moisture back to her dull eyes. A trickle released from the welled up reservoir.
Her hand slowly moved up from the frail lap where it rested, revealing dried residue from a lunch spill. She tried to catch the unfamiliar moisture before it exposed her vulnerable self.
The words, “I can’t remember,” faintly slipped through her pursed lips. She knew it was a simple question – one she could easily answer. Instead, blank space now occupied much of what used to be full.
Another question and a long pause un-furrowed her brow. “He grabbed me from behind yesterday and we danced all the way to the garden,” she told me. For a moment her eyes joined the waltz before her thoughts tiptoed away.
Her retired dancing legs now hang limp from a seat supported by large worn wheels.
Yesterday was probably decades ago and yet it graciously visited for a quick look back today. Tenderness and youth were deposited – for just a moment.
She didn’t remember the landslide of days that passed too quickly, or the monotonous months spent working behind a desk. Her mind didn’t bother to recall the thousands of trips to the supermarket, gas station or business appointments. Her positions, titles, paychecks, accumulations were all long gone and of no significance to her now.
She remembered her feelings though. She remembered matters of the heart.
I often wonder what we’ll remember in heaven and what part of our earthly existence goes with us. Will we be tormented by what we can’t hold onto – those memories of all we thought brought us significance. Or will we be remiss that too much time was spent on things that didn’t matter at all.
Worn leathery skin doesn’t happen overnight and neither does a tired leathery heart.
Healthy heart care comes from a lifetime of intentional choices. When memories fade and life narrows to a simpler existence the mind releases much that has been accumulated – sometimes to our benefit and other times not.
Give yourself permission to cry and feel, to love and be loved. Make memories. Touch someone’s soul with your words and actions. Actions that remain.
Today will eventually become our yesterday too – the yesterday we hope to remember.