Sunday, January 4, 2009

Ever since I was young, my mom used to take me to the nursing home to visit. It was something I felt I could do for God even when I was young. The elderly are so easy to talk to, and so un-judgmental. Of course, anyone that knows us at all, knows my parents and I are involved in nursing home ministry. I wrote and published in our denominational paper at the time an article very similar to this when I was 13 or 14. I dont know where it is now, so wrote this as a take-off of that one. I also added a few thoughts in there that I have heard my dad admonish the old people all the time. He always tells them that they have good minds and know so much to share with the world, and that they should exercise their minds--not just give up, etc... I used to love to write, and have decided to use blogger to exercise that at times!! Sorry....dont read my blog if it is boring to you!! lol!!

Visiting the Aged

I feel young, vigorous, and alive as I walk up the nursing home. The sun warms my face, and the wind plays with the short hairs around my face. I can see well the flower heads nodding in the breeze, and hear birds singing in the trees. It is good to be alive.

Then I open the door….I enter another world. Here the smell of urine permeates the air from trash cans that have not yet been emptied. The elderly sit about in various kinds of wheelchairs, useless legs covered with lap robes, and those who are deranged are sometimes even sitting in some form of undress. Almost each face has a vacant look, and the eyes stare emptily, thoughts closed off to the world, for in this stage of life no one is interested in their thoughts. I feel a wilting of spirits, a fleeing of youth.

I enter Rosita’s room. Here sits a precious Catholic, Italian lady on the edge of her bed. She wears her long white hair in a tiny knot on the top of her head, and her faded dark eyes peer out behind thick glasses to see who has entered her room. She is so grateful for company, and yet, she tells me, “I canna see, I canna hear, my kids no come see me, and at this point, she folds her arthritic hands together. “I justa pray God come take me home!” To her it seems as if her life is over, and no one cares that she sits there day after day.

I leave Rosita’s room, and stop at Stella’s side in the hallway. She sits here every Sunday by the window waiting, watching, hoping that perhaps this would be the day that her kids would remember their mother. Kneeling beside her, we pray together as Stella has become a Christian not long ago. You see, although the world has forgotten the aged, God has not! I weep with her and pass on.

Mary. Here is another tiny, almost doll-like, little lady! If you did not know her, and seen her sitting in one of the open areas in hallways, half-asleep with her wig crooked, you might pass her by. If you passed her by, you would have passed by a blessing in disguise. Mary has also been forsaken by her son—he has not been to see her in years as he did not like the place she was planning on being buried. Although some of us might have become embittered in her place, Mary had a secret. As her fading sight fixes on me, she reaches out tiny crippled hands for my own strong ones, and says in her tiny sweet voice, “Oh honey, I am so glad you came to see me. I love you.” It is not long into the conversation before she reveals her inner secret, what it is that keeps her happy while being so utterly alone, “Honey, I love Jesus.” I don’t remember a conversation without those four words being spoken from the heart. Friends, Jesus loved Mary too.

Traveling on down the hallway of fading life, I see ahead Charlie. He is staring at the wall, mouth hanging open. What did he have to offer the world? I touch his shoulder, he catches sight of me, and there is immediate life in that face!! He grins as he grips my hand. You see, Charlie has stories to tell the world and he knows I will listen. He can tell you about WWII, about when he lived in Australia, engineering stories, etc… Through his eyes, I see lands faraway, places I have never been.

The next room I enter belongs to white-haired lady who looks as if she would be very sour. She lays there in her bed all covered up, years of usefulness apparently over. I bend over her bed. “Blanche, how are you? Do you know who I am?” She stares at me a moment, and finally says, “Yes. We have been friends for a long time.” She also proceeds to tell me, “I don’t feel so good, honey. I just wish God would take me home—if he wants to. But if he wants me here, I want to tell others about Him. Pray for me” I kiss that soft, soft cheek of Blanche, and reaffirm my own commitment to also tell others about Him on my two working legs.

Need I go on? I went in feeling life was good, and yet felt it was fleeing as I entered the halls of this place. However, something changed for the better inside. I found vacant eyes brightened with attention, faces became animated with a listening ear, and I was blessed. Here I found Christians, and people with good minds, and something to share with the world that you and I have neglected. Are we leaving something undone that we shall be accountable to God for in the Judgment Day?

Matthew 25:31-46
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats. And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.