His face lights up when I enter through the sliding doors. Pink walls and a pastel, flora sofa provide the only color in the otherwise sparse entryway of the Elderly Care Home where my grandfather resides, so different from the home I’ve associated him with these many years.
The recognition is immediate, but he stumbles to form words, and I can see his eyes hesitate as he realizes he can’t remember my name. He reaches out his arms, and I fall into his familiar embrace, breathing in his scent that pulls me back through nearly three decades of a relationship where if I knew anything, it was that this man loved me.
Alzheimer's disease stole a portion of his life, rendering him more and more helpless each time I saw him. But even in those moments where my name was beyond his memory, I could see that I was utterly loved and known.
In Psalm 87:7, they all sing: "My home is within you." And then again in the Gospel, John 10:22-30, Jesus informs the Jews, "My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me."
Each of us has the gift of being intimately known and loved by our Creator, and He is there with arms wide open for us to return that love by making our home in Him.
As I prioritize my relationship with Jesus, valuing the time spent in Adoration, and making a point to connect with Him daily, I orient my life towards making my home in Him. And I can let my guard down and rest in knowing I am known and loved.
My grandfather passed away over six years ago now, but I still can feel his hugs, a safe harbor against whatever life threw at me. My eyes still tear up when I think of him squeezing my arm and saying, "I love you, sugar."
What a beautiful thing it is to be known and loved.
If you're struggling with being known and loved, turn to Our Lady and pray a Rosary today (see our how-to guide) She is our heavenly mother and never fails to bring comfort to her children.
Sarah Ortiz is a Catholic convert, wife, and mother to four boys while living in a 200 year old farmhouse. When not folding laundry, she can be found reading, experimenting in the kitchen, or snagging amazing antique furniture deals. You can find out more about her here.