Scrambled Eggs Divina

Linda & Mark Cutshall is sitting with Aunt Jennie and scrambled eggs.

My Aunt Jennie has never been much for Christianity. The only time I’ve seen her inside a church was at my father’s memorial service. The next day we went to the cemetery to place his ashes in the wall, and when it was her turn she said a few scattered words to Buddha. Up until a few weeks ago that’s about as spiritual as it got.

Over the past decade we’ve gone on with our lives. The phone calls have been a little more infrequent. Last Christmas I told Aunt Jennie that our son, whom she doted on at birth as “Baby Ryan,” was turning 24 years old. “Oh, my God, you’ve got to be kidding! Let me get a pen and write his name down. Now, how do you spell it?”

I spoke the letters out loud to her, and they spelled onset dementia. This past February, this larger-than-life figure of my youth who took me camping as a boy and danced around the fire singing songs, all the while trying unsuccessfully not to trip, my now-88-year-old aunt, fell in her kitchen. She laid there for three days unwilling to call the EMTs. When the apartment manager finally found her, Aunt Jennie wondered what was going on. She left her apartment that morning on a stretcher before an eviction notice could be served. Bank statements revealed she wouldn’t have enough to pay the rent let alone keep buying groceries. Later, while cleaning up things, my brother found years of gambling receipts and a loaded gun.

Over the next several months I worked with a network of saints—doctors, nurses, and social workers—to find Aunt Jennie a boarding care home in her northern California town. Come April, mom and I took a week to visit her sister. Just to be together. No raised voices, not once.

Along the way I prayed for wisdom and patience. I asked God more than once for a way to acknowledge his Presence and provision to Jennie so that she might have a smidgen of what this whole Christian thing is all about. Not judgement, but an opening for love to come inside. I received no clear direction. On the next-to-last day of our stay, our wandering conversations turned to food. “Since we can’t go out to a restaurant,” I said, “what if we could bring you breakfast? You can choose. What would you like to eat?”

Her eyes widened. “What about some of those mixed-up eggs. And toast and that sweet stuff. What do your call it?” The next morning mom and I were back in her room, and I laid the take-out box in her lap. I took her hand and asked her if she would like to offer a prayer. Jennie closed her eyes, squeezed my fingers and bowed her head.

“Goodness. Here we are.  I’ve been trying hard. I was a teacher all these years. It’s gone so fast. I did all that work. How did I get here?  

Daddy took me under his wing. So funny. Is this it? Good-bye.” It wasn’t three out-loud readings of Scripture with discernment sandwiched in between. It was something else, immediate and wanting. In that lingering moment, a piece of her, buried inside, found a way out to pray, to take and eat. That morning, feasting on scrambled eggs, hash browns, and toast, Aunt Jennie tasted communion with Jesus. Complete with grape jelly and a napkin to wipe her lips. Simply divine.

By Mark Cutshall
Selah Community

1 thought on “Scrambled Eggs Divina”

  1. Oh Mark, what a poignant story, that you told so well. I couldn’t help but think of the words to the song, “When It’s All Been Said and Done”. When it’s all done, it is really only what I’ve done for Jesus that actually counts. You, at the end, when it was all said and done, brought love and light into Aunt Jenny’s life.


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