The Upper Room

It's only September but carols are already playing on the air, and now I suddenly remember that Christmas. My Auntie Pat was still living and her Alzhemier's had not fully set in.

She came with my mom (her older sister) to our home to spend Christmas and New Year with my family. I had not wrapped anything for her so I asked if there was anything she wanted for Christmas. 

She quickly replied, “Nothing, don't bother, hija.” But just as quickly, she said, “Oh, I don't mind receiving a copy of next year's The Upper Room.” (She explained that the book was her daily devotional and that not a day passed without her reading it.)

The Upper Room it is!” I said, happy that she allowed me to buy something for her.

“Oh,” she added, “You may also want to get me a diary.”  She held up her old one, “This exact size.”

I was only too happy to get those two items for her, inexpensive both, but obviously very important in her daily repertoire.

The next year, my mom passed away, and Auntie Pat was left grieving and unable to stop the scourge of Alzheimer's. She abandoned reading the newspapers—and The Upper Room. She gave up writing, too—leaving the pages of the rest of her diary blank.    

I distinctly remember that Christmas now as I read my very first copy of the The Upper Room, which I purchased on impulse from a bookstore in a mall in Lipa City (50 kilometers from where we live). Tony and I had just visited a friend and we were going to treat ourselves to Lipa coffee. I thought I should have something to read while I sipped my tea and Tony read his latest thriller.

For some reason, I have had all sorts of devotional through the years but have not once picked up The Upper room.  (The upper room in Bible times was a very important place.  It was a place of worship, prayer, and solitude. There the disciples had their last supper with Jesus.)

From the first page, I was hooked. What Auntie Pat had read and meditated on were very short heartwarming stories of faith and grace.

Each page bares the heart of every contributing writer, real people struggling to live faithfully in real-life situations, with the Bible as their touchstone. The writers are both lay and church people who come from different parts of the world; but one thing unifies them—the belief that God calls us to a life of love and forgiveness, as modeled by our Lord Jesus Christ.

Auntie Pat saw life through these writers' eyes, whose experiences mirror many of our own.

The carols are playing and I look back to that Christmas.

Auntie Pat asked for two gifts. Although she left both untouched the rest of the next year, they opened my eyes to why these two gifts were important to her: one book reflected her faith, and the other book recorded the grace that came to her life.


The Dragon Scribe said...

The Upper Room is also a reminder for all of us to pursue and work hard, because there is always a reward waiting for us and a place where we are destined to be in. At least, that's how I look at it.

Yay Padua-Olmedo said...

Christmas brings a surge of both sad and happy memories. Sad to note that now, only a few of us gather to celebrate; but happy that my loved ones are now in heaven, enjoying Christmas all year round.

Grace D. Chong said...

The good news is, we don't have to work too hard to be in the Upper Room. How wonderful that all we need to do is believe in His saving grace, leave our past behind us, walk on his path, be faithful, and voila!

Have a blessed October, Dragon Scribe!

Grace D. Chong said...

Hello, Yay,

I got all weepy remembering some memories, but yes, extremely "happy that my loved ones are now in heaven, enjoying Christmas all year round!"

Vie Lising-Velasco said...

Auntie Pat--your Mom's best friend. ;))))

Grace D. Chong said...

Yes, Vie! They were inseparable in life. Maybe they still are.

Anonymous said...

Thank you cuz, for another story to keep in my memory bank. I still miss her so much.

Grace D. Chong said...

Cuz, memories are wonderful things! Auntie will always be missed.