❝And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.❞ Exodus 16:2-3
Reflection by Mark Richardson
When I first brought my mother and father from Rochester, New York, to Savannah, Georgia, to be near us while their health failed, I’m pretty sure that this verse from Exodus would have expressed how they felt. At least it was how Mother felt. My father had advanced Alzheimer’s Disease and, perhaps mercifully, recognized no place on earth as home.
Mother was not happy. She had been taking care of Daddy for years, gallantly hiding his condition from their friends and acquaintances; now she had advanced colon cancer and had lost the energy that was required to make her daily pilgrimage to visit the bank and Wegmans supermarket, with Daddy seat-belted into the Camry, waiting in the parking lot for her to return with the shopping bags.
Now they were at Habersham House, an Assisted Living facility in Savannah, Georgia, far from the fleshpots of Wegmans, lost in the wilderness of the Deep South, cared for by nurses whose accents they could not understand. Strangers in a strange land, longing for the prison of home.
But the grace of God is certain, though it is sometimes very strange. Shortly before she died (Daddy would follow a few months later), Mother told me of a dream she’d had. She was on a mountain, hanging out the laundry as she used to do in the days before her own mother died, and the sheets and pillow cases, billowing in the fresh wind, were turning into the wings of angels–angels with brown skin.
There are different hungers. What we think we want may not be what we need. There are always hands ready to lead us out of Egypt into Canaan, to the land of milk and honey. We just may not know them at first.