My mom's condition has given us all a unique and priviledged view of her beautiful soul. She can't remember much of what is said to her five minutes after it is said, but she remembers every name of every friend and family member we have asked her about, and remembers them with a smile. Her loved ones are indelibly printed on her heart. She hasn't the awareness or the mental control to put up any kind of a front. She is never "on her guard," and yet she says nothing unkind or impatient or even unpleasant. She submits cheerfully to all instruction, even though it takes extreme effort just telling her limbs to move. She remembers to be grateful and says "thank you" for even the simplest of things. Without fail, she reciprocates the words, "I love you," even if there is a moment's delay while her mind registers and responds. What all this says to me is that she is beautiful at the core.
There are seemingly limitless misconceptions in this world about beauty. Most of what people celebrate as the epitome of beauty will fade with time, age, shifts in fashion, or embarassing publicity. True beauty goes so much deeper. It has to eminate from the center, because a polished exterior can't hide something ugly inside idefinitely. It's going to be revealed one way or another.
The kind of heart my mom has cultivated is the result of a lifetime of good choices. Sure, she wasn't perfect, but she was striving to be. It was her greatest desire. I know for myself, I don't want to waste any more time with petty things, idleness, negativity, selfishness, or anger. Life is too short. Even if we live to be 100, why waste those years? Certainly, it's easier said than done, but I hope with the new pespective this experince is giving me, I will have greater capacity to live by what I know, and spend more time refining my heart and less time worrying about what people see on my outside.