Last night during our Bible Study I happened to be seated almost directly across from a young mother and her little daughter. Penny Lynn is about seven months old and full of curious energy. Her mother was using all the techniques a new mother has to entertain one so small and I found it difficult to take my eyes off the beautiful little girl. At one point, Penny Lynn sat down next to her mother and when she did, her line of vision caught my eye. I gave her a big smile and I was surprised to be greeted with a huge smile in return. Even though Penny Lynn had no way to speak to me, it was clear we were communicating and the "discussion" filled my heart with joy.
Her smile was not just a "discussion" between me and Penny Lynn, it was a repeat of another "conversation" I had been involved in earlier in the day.
Living at the nursing facility where we do Chapel services is a sweet woman named Mrs. Anne. Not much older than I am, we knew Mrs. Anne many years ago when we attended the same church with her and her husband. Mrs. Anne can no longer speak in any way. Like Penny Lynn, she is virtually silent. Mrs. Anne's mind is now trapped in a body which only occasionally allows glimmers of the person we once knew. I saw one of these glimmers yesterday.
As my husband and I stood at the podium to begin singing the hymns for our service, Mrs. Anne was positioned directly ahead of me. She was looking in my direction, but I didn't sense there was any recognition of who we were or what we were doing. Then Glen said something that amused me and I chuckled. I looked at Mrs. Anne and gave her a big smile, and just like Penny Lynn, she surprised me by looking me squarely in the eyes and giving me a big smile right back. This time it was very clear to me we were communicating even though it was impossible for us to exchange words. The moment, though brief, filled my heart with joy.
In both of these instances, I had given so little, but in return I had received so very much. I was more than able to communicate, not only in gesture but in words, with both Mrs. Anne and Penny Lynn. Neither of them were able to communicate with me except in a very limited way. Their expressions to me, although an equal response to mine physically, were a much greater response in communication because it was the only vehicle through which they could communicate.
Who received the greater joy in the communication? I would be the first to tell you I am quite sure in both instances I did.
The Lord lavishly gives His love to us at great expense to Himself. We appear to reap all the benefit because He can do so much more than we can do. He is all-knowing and all-powerful. But when we return that love to Him, His heart is blessed, to the point He said our voices are "sweet" to Him. Our prayers are so special to Him the book of Revelation refers to them as the incense offered at the golden altar before the throne of the Lord.
Penny Lynn's smile spoke something beside joy to me. When I saw it, immediately I thought of Mrs. Anne's smile earlier in the day. Somehow I see the two as connected. Perhaps Penny Lynn's smile was to hep me see that Mrs. Anne's was no accident, no random occurrence. Perhaps they are both a way to reiterate in my life those verses which has been proven over and over again: