Wisconsin Christian News Vol. 18, Issue 9 By Kitty Foth-Regner
To many Americans, a nursing home is the despised last stop before heading into the Great Beyond. Not so for this Waukesha writer. I've been devoted to one such facility for 25 years. And I can report with confidence that the right nursing home can be the doorway to meaningful relationships, unleashed creativity, and even eternal joy.
This conviction is the reason I wrote The Song of Sadie Sparrow (FaithHappenings Publishers). Set against the backdrop of life's twilight years, it's the story of three vastly different women whose lives intersect in a fictional Wisconsin facility called The Hickories.
Sadie Sparrow, Meg Vogel and Elise Chapelle represent different generations. They have experienced different sorrows and entertain different hopes. They even adhere to different worldviews, from devoutly and nominally CHristian to unapologetically atheist. Yet over the course of a single year, they forge bonds that impact each other's lives today--and perhaps for all eternity.
The story opens as Sadie arrives at The Hickories, feeling utterly abandoned by her oh-so-busy daughter Dana:
"In all her eighty-six years, Sadie Sparrow had never been as miserable as she was this dreary Sat;urday afternoon. Not even Ed's death could compare to being case aside by her only daughter, packed up and stuffed against her will into a tiny room in a place that she'd never even seen, hidden way out here in the country ..."
But her unhappiness does not last.
"Strange and wonderful, Sadie thought as she snuggled into her bed, grateful for the double blankets the housekeeper had given her that morning. It felt as if she'd left her old life behind--yes, even Dana and her family, who seemed almost like strangers to her now. But she seemed to have found herself a new family here at The Hickories, a family that would be hers forevermore."
The Song of Sadie Sparrow is a reflection of the quarter-century that Care-age of Brookfield has been at the heart of my life. It's where my Christian mother spent her last years. And since her death in 2000, I've been a faithful volunteer there, getting to know, love and bid adieu to an ever-changing cast of elderly people whose lives have touched me deeply.
But even more central to The Song of Sadie Sparrow is the gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact, the story is designed to:
--Introduce unbelievers to the evidence for biblical Christianity, and to God's offer of eternal life
--Help cultural Christians understand that we are saved not by our works but by His grace
--Encourage believers to share the gospel generously, especially with those on the cusp of eternity
The gospel has also been central to my own story since my mother died. It was then that I, devastated and finding no comfort in feminism or atheism, began searching with all my heart for the truth about eternity.
I naturally started with “Is there a god?” Then 47, I’d already spent 25 years as a freelance copywriter specializing in scientific subjects. So it’s no surprise that books on Intelligent Design began falling in my lap. Shockingly, in very short order I was convinced that this universe was no accident, that there had indeed been a god of some sort behind its wonders.
The next question—“which god?”—was more difficult, especially since I thought Christians were boring (except for my mom, of course). Full disclosure: I did join a church “just in case.” But I spent the next year feverishly evaluating all the other major worldviews, from Hinduism to the New Age, searching for a more exciting solution. I found no evidence, however, that any of these alternatives could be true.
And so I turned at last to the Bible—and was blown away by what I discovered inside.
First, its scientific insights are uncanny: Apart from divine inspiration, how could writers three millennia ago have known that the sun has its own orbit and that the sea floor boasts mountains and valleys? And these are just two examples from scores of biblical facts that have been confirmed by scientists only in recent years.
Second, as a history minor in college, I was amazed to learn of the Bible’s prophetic accuracy, particularly in regard to the 1948 restoration of the nation of Israel.
After 15 months, I came to the only possible conclusion: from start to finish, the Bible is (gasp!) true. And this Intelligent Designer I’d come to believe in was indeed the God who has revealed Himself in its pages.
This intellectual and spiritual journey was recounted in my memoir Heaven Without Her (Thomas Nelson).
Both The Song of Sadie Sparrow and Heaven Without Her are available at online retailers from Amazon.com to BarnesandNoble.com.