”… the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us …” (Romans 8:26).
I will never forget the day I visited an Irishman who I’ll call Patrick. Patrick could not converse, but he had been an English and History teacher and could recite over 25,000 lines of poetry. He used to correct volunteers when they misread poems!
I used to sing Irish songs with Patrick. He still had a good voice, and he loved the songs of his childhood and his youth: “Danny Boy”, “When Irish eyes are smiling”, “it’s a long way to Tipperary”, and others.
One day I went to see Patrick. Our little cocker spaniel Pip had just been diagnosed with cancer so my heart was very heavy. I naturally didn’t tell Patrick what was going on. He could not have understood what I was saying. We sang a song or two, and then he looked at me and asked with true compassion: “How’s your little doggie?” I was shocked – and reduced to tears. How did Patrick know?
Because ‘spirit talks to spirit’. My troubled spirit was talking with Patrick’s spirit!
How? St. Paul tells us in Romans 8. God’s Holy Spirit helped me in my weakness by interceding through Patrick. God’s Holy Spirit connected with Patrick’s spirit. Patrick’s spirit, in a way that defies explanation, energized Patrick’s damaged brain, enabling Patrick to offer me God’s compassion and comfort. As it is sometimes said, “The Lord works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform”.
As I’ve shared Patrick’s story over the years I find that other people’s spirits are touched. Perhaps it has touched your spirit? What’s happening? God is helping all of us in our weakness. And he is doing it through those whom we might least expect – those living with dementia!