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A Slice Of Life To Go is an online Christian blog written by Todd Thompson. It encourages people to see the beauty in ordinary moments and to know God’s unconditional, unfailing love in everyday life.

Bubbles

February 2nd, 2009

It’s Friday afternoon around 5:00 PM. “We’ll be back tomorrow. I’m going to wear my purple dress.” In her good-bye to the nurses at Vista Care, Emma informs Annie and me of her plans for our Saturday morning.

Way back when, it was Emma’s idea to come here for the first time. We were replacing the flowers on 2nd North at Carillon House, visiting with our elderly friends when Emma asked why we didn’t go to the 4th floor, too. I didn’t have a good answer. So up we went.

We’ve been going every week since.

True to her word, we are back the next morning. Emma and Annie are looking lovely in their high heels and fancy purple skirts that spin out beautifully when they twirl and dance, their number one criteria for the perfect dress.

The twins race to see who can punch the elevator button first. Up to the 4th floor. Vista Care’s inpatient hospice unit is located here. A wonderful facility with caring staff. I was impressed early on with how nurses Elizabeth and Kelli handled Annie and Emma’s questions. Not the least of which was Kelli’s answer to one of the girl’s most significant “why?”. Kelli said, “For some people this is the last place they come before they go to heaven.” Annie and Emma are good with that answer.

On this Saturday morning in addition to dresses and heels, the girls have accessorized their outfits with three bottles of bubbles. It makes perfect sense to them. What else would girls in purple dresses and high heels do? They blow bubbles, of course.

It’s pretty quiet on the floor. After chatting with the nurses, they say goodbye and head back down the hall. There’s an open door to the left. A family they’d left flowers with yesterday. The patient, a gentleman who does not look nearly old enough to be here, and two ladies sitting bedside who appear to be family.

I lean against the inside of the doorway, watching Annie and Emma…be Annie and Emma. Their 2nd grade dialogue about random and disconnected topics, engaging the ladies in their conversation. All the while blowing bubbles, watching them float and trying to catch them without breaking them.

Soon they involve one of the ladies in blowing bubbles, too. Smiles all around. Laughter. The laughter that feels and sounds so free; the unfettered laughter of an adult being a kid again. It’s fresh air in this room.

Emma manages a big double bubble. “Whoa! Look! It’s like a Mommy and Daddy bubble!”

Poof.

Annie says, “Daddy bubble just popped.”

More laughter.

“Try to catch them! See? Look!” With her wand, Emma slides underneath the giant bubble she just blew and raises it up. Against the back light of the window I see the shimmering surface tension just before it pops and disappears.

Here in this room that is the last place some people come before going to heaven, life is being lived to the fullest. I dare say there is nothing more or better that anyone here can do in this moment than to blow bubbles and laugh, to enjoy human companionship and the simple delights of children.

Watching the bubbles hover over the bed, I am reminded that God tells us our life is like a vapor. Just like these bubbles. Delicate and beautiful. Incredibly fragile. Floating and fleeting. And in the time it takes to “ooh” and “ah” and giggle…poof!

They are gone.

It’s time to leave. Emma and Annie hand their bottles to the two ladies. Emma says, “Now you can blow bubbles all day even after we’re gone!”

“Are you sure, girls?”, the ladies want to know.

“No worries”, says Annie, “we’ve got lots of bubbles.”

“LOTS of bubbles!”, Emma affirms.

When you’re 8, it feels like the bubbles will never end.

The man in the bed understands better.

The man in the doorway is understanding that better, too.

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while then vanishes.” – James 4:14

 “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” – Psalm 90:12  

Todd A. Thompson – www.ASliceOfLifeToGo.com