My mother was a praying woman. When I was a child and all throughout my growing up years, She used pray out loud sometimes, seemingly oblivious to me, or my brother. One of her prayers went like this: "Lord, please keep me in my right mind."
It wasn't until I was older and understood why she prayed that prayer. Momma had seen a lot. As a young woman, she worked as a volunteer at local hospitals and often cared for people who suffered severe memory loss or some form of dementia.
Later, Momma watched as some of her friends, in their old age, suffer the same fate. So she kept on praying that God would "keep" her in her "right mind." And He did.
My dear Momma died on Dec. 13, 2002, of complications from a stroke she had suffered nearly seven years earlier. And although she was bed-ridden, her mind was sharp. We spent many hours together talking and laughing about things that happened to us over the years, and about her grandchildren and great-grands.
At times, Momma, ever the missionary, would have me dial the number of a newly converted Christian so she could encourage them to stay with the Lord.
I'm telling you this story because I learned to pray the same prayer — "Lord keep me in my right mind." Today, the prayer seems so much more relevant, as I watch a dear friend struggle with what seems to be dementia. My friend, who has done so many noteworthy things for this community is a shell of the person she once was. And so now, her friends have rallied around her to offer help and comfort wherever and whenever it is needed.
A friend and neighbor makes sure she has her meals and takes her medicine on time, often spending her own money in the grocery store. I try to see to it that she makes her doctors' appointments on time.
Another friend helped out financially when her property taxes were due. Still, another helped purchase a new mattress and box spring for her bedroom, when he learned that the mattress she was sleeping on was over 40 years old.
And yet, sometime I have to fight back the tears when I am around her. We all do... it hurts so much to see her deteriorate, to see the light go out her eyes and to hear her say, "I'm so confused...".
We know there is nothing we can do to turn the situation around. The most we can do is to pray that the Lord will keep us in our "right' mind so we can be there for our friend.
Music from the bells
And on a lighter note:
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church at 38 NW 57th Ave., invites the community to "Carols of the Bells, A Ukrainian Christmas Choral Concert" at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
The program will include a performance of "Shchedryk" or "Carol of the Bells" in English concert is called "Carols of the Bells."
The concert is free, but donations will be accepted and will benefit the church's building fund.
For more information, call Choir Director Donna Maksymowich-Waskiewicz at 954-434-4635.
‘A Service of Light’
The Miami Messiah Choir will sing at the Church of the Little Flower at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 18, in a concert of "Advent Lessons and Carols - A Service of Light."
According to information from the church, the service will begin in darkness, to represent the darkness before the Creation, as well as the darkness of sin. The service will also retell the story of God's love made visible in the Advent of His Son.
For more information call the 305-661-0069.
Learn about ‘Crypto Jews’
"Be a Link in the Chain of Jewish Life" will be presented at noon Sunday at Temple Beth Tov-Ahavat Shalom, 6438 SW Eighth St. in West Miami.
The event will feature a Kosher lunch to be followed by guest speaker Dr. Abe Lavender, who will discuss the latest edition of the Journal of Spanish, Portuguese and Italian Crypto Jews, of which he is editor-in-chief.
There is no admission charge but donations are welcome. To RSVP, call 305-261-9821 or 305-205-3846.
His Loving Hands Christian Academy will present its annual Christmas program at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Bible Way Church of Our Lord, 18290 SW 102nd Ave. in Perrine.
It's free, and I am told the children performing in the pageant are "adorable." Call 786-227-0998 for more information.