Non-Verbal Communication

A few weeks ago I posted about my 98 year-old mother and a caregiver in the assisted living home where she lives. I was surprised to hear Alysha tell me Mother had prayed for her, because Mother’s mind doesn’t appear to work much anymore.

About the time Sharon and I left on our vacation in early July, I received an email for this dear young lady telling me more about her experiences with my mother. Alysha is a young Christian feeling her way along on her walk with Jesus, and apparently God is using Mother to help and encourage her on that walk.

For the last couple of years or so, Mother’s life has consisted of getting up in the morning—with the assistance of caregivers—eating three meals a day, and sitting in a chair the rest of the time doing nothing. Her eyesight won’t let her read or watch television or work crossword puzzles anymore, and her knees won’t allow her to walk at all, so she sits with nothing to do.

Although I visit her several times a week and her various caregivers stop to chat with her when their workloads allow them to, she still spends hours every day bored to death for lack of anything to do.

I’ve wondered many times during these years why God leaves her here. If she can’t get any enjoyment out of life, why not just take her on home? It took Alysha’s arrival in her life to answer that question for me.

I now see that God has kept my mother alive and well—other than the knees and eyesight and memory, she’s healthy as a horse. He still has a use for her in the lives of others.

We recently moved her to a new assisted living facility, and since she got there, Alysha’s not the only one who has commented on Mother’s impact on her life. Several other caregivers and both the manager and assistant manager of the place have told me Mother has edified them just by being there.

She makes no long speeches. She doesn’t even talk about Jesus unless you count her constant singing of hymns. It’s a nonverbal communication that has impacted the lives of these women. Apparently my mother just exudes the Holy Spirit, and these women feel that spirit when they are in her presence.

It’s been a wonderful eye-opener to see and hear about this. I have a feeling approaching awe when I hear one of them talking about Mother’s effect on them.

I don’t really want to live to be 98 if it means not being able to walk or see or remember anything, but, if I do, I hope God will be able to use me as He uses my mother. In fact, right now while I still have my legs and my eyesight and a reasonable portion of my memory left, I hope He can use me in the lives of others like he does this lady who bore and raised me.

This sign has been posted on Facebook several times lately, and it expresses my desire precisely:

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What examples of God’s using non-verbal communication to touch lives have you experienced—either in yourself or in someone else close to you?

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If you abide in Me and My word abides in you, then you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.

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For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.

For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.

Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.

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About David N. Walker

David N. Walker is a Christian husband, father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years in the health insurance industry, during which time he traveled much of the United States. He started writing about 20 years ago and has been a member and leader in several writers' groups. Christianity 101: The Simplified Christian Life, the devotional Heaven Sent and the novella series, Fancy, are now available in paperback and in Kindle and Nook formats, as well as through Smashwords and Kobo. See information about both of these by clicking "Books" above.
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  53. David, My example doesn’t match exactly what you’ve asked but I asked my Dad how he managed to be content with himself and life each day. He was 92 when I asked the question and still rode horseback everyday. He lived alone after my Mom passed for over 20 years.

    Dad replied, “God and I talk each day and I read the Bible daily. I find someone that needs help and lend them a hand. And finally, I learn something new everyday. Dad passed on his 94th birthday.

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    • Beautiful, Sheri. Your dad sounds like someone who would have been worth knowing.

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      • Thank you, David. My father never had much money and worked harder than anyone should ever have too. [I know, I broke one of your cardinal rules there by ending a sentence with a preposition. At least I recognize them now!] He was determined his children would all have an education and I’m forever grateful that Tom and I were able to keep him in a comfortable lifestyle after Mom passed. He wouldn’t accept a dime and I finally told him my education was his retirement fun and we had a lot of fun with that. Tom was such a champ and he loved my dad dearly. I wish we had been aware of Mom and Dad’s situation years earlier. We would have lent a hand long before Mom passed. Thanks for being here. I call it an add-on to my therapy:)

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  54. Barb Estinson says:

    Beautiful blog, David. I love hearing these things about Mom too. We were so lucky that God chose her to be our mom.

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  55. Jane Merrick says:

    Love this article you wrote!!! I have loved seeing Aunt Baba’s relationship with Jesus deepen in the last few years!!! Love, Jane

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  56. Sharon K. Walker says:

    One never fully realizes the impact that he/she has on others. Your mother continues to reflect the Holy Spirit indwelling in her.

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