I had the privilege of spending time with Auntie Hope again a few days ago. As you know, Auntie Hope has Alzheimers and doesn't remember who I am each week, so sometimes I feel like I'm living out the movie Fifty First Dates. I've also told you that she's a sweetie and demonstrates amazing hospitality, despite the fact that I'm a stranger to her each week.
When I visit Auntie Hope there really isn't an agenda. Sometimes she tells me the same story ten times in a row. Other times we just sit and watch the birds. This week we worked on my Afrikaans (I read and translated 15 pages, and she helped me with the words I didn't know and contextualisation).
If I went to these visits expecting something from Auntie Hope, I would be sorely disappointed (or worse - bored). If I expected her to be a certain way, or to somehow meet my needs or do something for me, then I would have a horrible time. But if I go and have no expectations - if the point is just to be with her and love her, no matter what state of mind she's in - then I have a wonderful time.
I realised how much of my love for others is based on what they do for me. I also realised that God's love is very like loving a person with Alzheimers - loving them where they are - and for who they are (not who they used to be or will become one day) - without expectations. God doesn't love us because of what we do for Him. He just loves us. No strings attached. He also loves to just be with us, whether we're watching birds, practising Afrikaans, or telling the same story ten times in a row.