I used to be the kind of person that considers her limits sacred territory. "This is who I am", I would say, "and there is nothing I can do about it". This attitude led me to some wrongdoing, even towards my own mother. Before moving to the US with my husband and son, we stayed with my parents for a while. My mother was incontinent, but I refused to deal with this problem, leaving the burden of assisting her to my siblings. She didn't mind, but after my conversion I felt the desire to overcome my weakness. I wanted to make it up to her, but I would never have the chance because she had passed away while I was here.This is just a bit of Antonella's conversion story, which you must go to On the Road to Jerusalem and read. The wonderful thing about conversion stories is that we can look at them and remember our own conversions while seeing another facet of how much Jesus loves each and every one of us. I especially resonated with Antonella's conversion beginning with books ... and not in the way you might think. Via Riparians at the Gate.
And so I was glad when I was offered the possibility of redeeming myself. I took a two-week job as a caregiver, taking care of a 92 year old woman. I knew it would have been hard for me, but I dedicated my effort to my mother. Well, when I went back home after the first day of work, my son said to me:
"You have an expression on your face like someone who has seen things so terrible that she will never be the same again!"
And this was not an exaggeration. I was actually distraught. But when I returned to work the following day the little old lady was still in bed, because nobody in the house was willing to bathe her and dress her up. She said to me:
"I was worried about you! I thought you might not come back."
At that moment my heart opened up to her. She needed me, and I was happy to help her. She was very sweet, and although she hated to be so dependent on someone else, she kept a sense of humor about her situation, which I thought was remarkable. She even laughed when I struggled to drag her into bed at night because she was too heavy for me! I still think of her with great affection.
None of this would have been possible without Christ. I was surprised by the love He generated inside of me. I expected to struggle with myself for the entire time I had to be on the job, but instead I had completely overcome my problems by the third day! Why couldn't I do the same for my mother? Because no matter how much I loved her, I was unable to see her as a creature of God. I did not believe that she had a soul. I looked at her as a body more than as a person. I thought that I loved her, but true love has the power to move the heart.