A dreadful poem, attributed to the Alzheimer’s Association, is being spread across social networks in which the author laments, “The best of me is gone.” Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! This couldn’t be farther from the truth!
Your best is in your children and grandchildren and . . .
If you are experiencing early onset Alzheimer’s, here’s the good news. The best of you lives on in your children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren . . . They carry with them your DNA and in many ways your personality.
A lifetime of your influence, encouragement, and life lessons are not gone with your memories but live on in those you loved. The values and beliefs you modeled before your children and grandchildren also live on well beyond your years. Your encouragement lives on in your friends and coworkers. And if you were a author or simply letter-writer, you leave a permanent record of advice, admonitions, encouragement, and comfort that will be treasured by future generations. The best of you is not gone!
Your best is in the lives your faith has touched
And for followers of Jesus suffering from Alzheimer’s, a lifetime of modeling your faith before family and friends has impacted the very kingdom of God. If you have served as a Sunday school teacher, preacher, or missionary, or faithful layperson, your best lives on in the eternally-changed lives of those you served. The best of you is not gone!
Your best is in you right now!
If you are farther down the path of Alzheimer’s, you may not know today’s date, recognize old friends, or even remember your spouse. He or she is simply a nice person who comes to see you each day. That nice person may be reading this devotional to you right now.
But even as your mind leaves this earth well before your body, it stands as a monument for what you stood for. It’s a reminder of the love and influence you poured out on your family and families. Think of yourself as a living photograph—it may be silent—and yet it speaks love, faith and courage. Your good work is not finished! The best of you is not gone!
The best is yet to be
“On the day when Christ Jesus returns” you will be perfectly restored in mind and body. Jesus himself will greet you with, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” So, even as you are dying to this world, eternal life awaits you. And in heaven, the dying memories of this world will be resurrected as you reunite with family and friends who have gone before you. The best of you is just beginning as you make the transition from earthly memories to eternal anticipation!
The things we do are like monuments that people build to honor heroes after they’ve died. Only instead of being made of stone, they’re made out of the memories people have of you.
From If You’re Not Dead, You’re Not Done copyright © 2021 by James N. Watkins which will be released by Tyndale House Publishers in October 2021.
Photo: M.T. Elgassier, edited by James N. Watkins