Hot Chocolate

I went over to visit Kristi last night. She'd called during the day and I said I'd come by for a visit after dinner.

When I got there Kristi was in line for evening meds. From what I've been piecing together, Kristi had a brain tumor when she was young and that is what caused her loss of eyesight, slight facial paralysis and cognitive disabilities.

Paul was pushing her wheelchair. Paul and Kristi have been dating now for the last few weeks. Paul, like everyone at the assisted-living facility, has his own cognitive disabilities, mild MR as best I can tell.

I'm not sure as to the extent of their relationship, but Paul seems very solicitous and attentive to Kristi. Which I'm grateful for. Early on, I think Paul was a bit wary and jealous of me, assuming that my visits to Kristi were romantic gestures. But I've won him over and he's becoming a friend. When I visit, I visit Paul as well.

We go to Kristi's room because she wants to show me the picture she got in the mail of her new niece. The picture is beautiful. I describe it to Kristi. She then offers us some hot chocolate. Paul and I agree. Kristi searches under her bed to find the packages she's hidden there. Kristi hides stuff because people often take things from her.

She comes up from her search under her bed with three packages of hot chocolate. The three of us go to the dining area. Paul gets me a mug from the kitchen and finds his regular glass along with Kristi's. He mixes the hot chocolate with lukewarm water from the tap which is too cool to dissolve the mix. But it doesn't matter. I thank Kristi for her generosity in sharing and Paul for his kindness in making it for me.

And so we visit, the three of us. Talking about the weather. About what we did that day. About life at their facility.

I mention that my birthday is coming up. We talk about birthday cakes and what we like. We discover that all three of us like pound cake. I tell them that on my birthday I'll get a pound cake and bring it over so we can celebrate. That, it is agreed, is a splendid idea.

And so we visit at the end of the day, sharing stories, memories, worries and some laughter.

The three of us, sipping hot chocolate.

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17 thoughts on “Hot Chocolate ”

  1. This is beautiful! Thanks for the reminder that some of life's greatest treasures are found in the most unlikely places.

  2. The verse in the bible that is guiding my imagination more and more is this one:

    1 Cor. 12.23:
    And those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect.

    I'm trying to figure out--by living into--what it means to give "greater honor" to the "less honorable" and "greater respect" to those "less respectable." Basically, I'm trying to think of "the little way" as everyday practices of honoring and respecting, shifting my honor and respect this way rather than that way.

  3. I love that verse Richard and I was motivated by your story above. I never really saw the verse lived out fully until I went to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. In fact, many verses come alive there as they also seem to in assisted living homes, rehabs and half way houses. Tucked away and often hidden in plain sight; the last become first.

  4. Amen. Exactly my experience. And I'll be joining you soon enough as I'm about to start some work at my church walking alongside men struggling the substance dependence at a halfway/rehab house.

  5. Apparently, I've got the wrong translation, because that verse has never stuck out to me. I think I've always assumed this was referring to inappropriate body parts, without thinking what that means in application to the church body. After re-reading other translations, this verse makes much more sense now, and is definitely inspiring. Thanks for citing this verse.

  6. Sounds like a fun visit. I hope when I'm stuck somewhere for whatever reason someone comes and shares some good times with me.

  7. The translation above is the NRSV.

    I think the basic idea does involve inappropriate body parts, genitalia in particular. Paul flips the understanding of what it means to "hide" or "cover up" these "shameful" body parts. In the Corinthian church the "shameful" parts/members were being hidden, ignored, and covered up. Which seems to be called for because, well, isn't that what we do with the shameful parts of our physical bodies, keep them hidden away and covered up? But Paul flips the notion on it's head. By paying attention to these body parts--clothing them--we aren't shaming but giving them special treatment, consideration and care. And the same thing should happen in the church body: no shaming but special attention, honor, respect, and care.

  8. That's beautiful. There may be no explicit theology here, yet there is more here about the Kingdom of God than in a thousand posts on systematic theology. I feel blessed and inspired for having read this. Thank you, Richard.


    My counselor recommended this book. I hope to read it one day but it may interest you if you are working with those in AA. I am in ACoA (like Al-Anon) and it has been profoundly life changing.

  10. And thus is the gospel lived out among us. Very inspiring. But how can I live out that same gospel to my own neighbors (literally) who are dealing drugs and creating an unsafe environment for my own children? I felt guilty for building a fence this summer to mitigate the chaos seeping toward us (read: language, dress, physical degradation) of people given over to drugs.

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