I was visiting with a very sweet 95 year old lady who had
recently been admitted as a hospice patient. She was mentally sharp, but failing physically with COPD and other ailments. At one point in the visit, she looked me in the eye and said, “Chaplain, I haven’t told anyone this and I feel guilty for asking, but isn’t turning 95 a ‘big deal?” “Why yes it it,” I exclaimed! "Why do you ask?"
She continued on, explaining to me that on her recent birthday, most of her family and friends had not called or visited her. She said she would have even appreciated a cupcake with a candle in it or something. But nobody seemed to care.
With a lump in my throat, I took her thin little hands in mine and said, “Can I sing happy birthday to you?” With tears rolling down her face, she nodded yes. I sang and then affirmed her value in the eyes of God and also people like me. I told her she was beautiful and a blessing. She wept like a little girl….
I love my job....
Still, sometimes I don't love what I see. All too often, I see myself as part of a culture that is too busy, too distracted, and frankly just too selfish to care for people like that sweet woman. We can't visit, we can't value, we just can't seem to focus on the needs of others--let alone the elderly/disabled, etc.
The Apostle James wrote, "Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world (James 1:27)."
How are you doing with this? How am I doing? When is the last time you went to see an elderly relative or friend? When is the last time you participated in a Nursing Home visit "just because" you wanted to show God's love to these forgotten souls?
Let's raise the bar on "pure religion" this week. Let's do something out of the ordinary to show love to someone who has been forgotten....
To that end,
love my job…..