I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth. // Isaiah 49:6
My father, 94, and mother, 89, make two holy hours every day. They spend the bulk of their day in prayer. Still, age is catching up with them. My father is falling more and less able to care for himself. My mother can no longer serve as his nurse. Like so many families, ours reached a crisis point recently and needed to make some changes.
One sister, Anne, hopped on a plane and within hours was in mom and dad’s apartment, cleaning and cooking, caring and tending. Over a weekend, exchanging emails, texts, and phone calls, my six siblings and I discussed our options and eventually landed on a plan—made possible through the extraordinary generosity of another sister, Virginia, a nurse. She will retire early, move into an apartment below my parents, and care for them. She is as overjoyed with this development as my parents are. Another sister, Janet, has already volunteered to furnish the new apartment. Another, Maureen, will move Virginia from the east coast to the Midwest with her truck and trailer. And so it goes, we all do what we can.
My family will never make the headlines. My sister Virginia will never be famous. No one is going to make a movie about her life. Though she has spent it caring for others, though she deserves at the very least a mini-series, she won’t get one. Still, she is every bit a light to the nations; she sees that the Lord’s compassion and care reach to the ends of the world she has been given to inhabit.
I want to remember: the first nation to whom I may witness, for whom I might shine, is my family, those I live with, work with, am in daily contact with. My nation may not be exotic or vast; my nation may not be powerful, wealthy, or remarkable. And my contribution may not be as bright or as spectacular as someone else’s, but the call remains: be a light such that the love of the Lord reaches the ends of the earth, starting with your living room.