I want to detail a trip we took to the nursing home today. By we, I mean me, Cade, and baby Brendan Bear.
I haven't been to the nursing home in several weeks but I so often feel the need to go.
As I pulled into the parking lot, I began to cry. I felt that Jesus was with me. I felt an overwhelming love for the people inside.
I also felt a great sadness....a despair..because I know that there must be an immense sense of lonliness inside the nursing home walls. I know that there are people in there that have no one. No visitors. I know that many of them are forgotten. They are living out thier final days in sadness.
I often read stories about nursing home neglect and abuse. I don't know how prevalent it is...butI know it is there nonetheless...It isn't really spoken of in everyday conversation. It too, is something that is forgotten.
So we said a prayer that God would let us bring Light into the dark corridors of this dreadful place. There were many different buildings. We chose to enter one that looked a little less traveled.
If you have ever been to a nursing home, you will know that there you have to enter a code to get inside the door. A little pin pad code. It is a place where people are literally locked inside. It must feel like a prison to its inhabitants.
We got the code, we entered...we went....
I was a little nervous..not much..but I guess I didn't know where to start...there are hundreds of people inside...I knew I couldn't pray for everyone....I wasn't sure where to go..or into which room I could bring some Light.
I went to the first room I saw. It was a room not very well lit. It was lunchtime. There were two women in the room lying in thier beds. There was a nurse also. I asked one of the women if she wanted a prayer. She very fervently shook her head, yes. I could see an eagerness in her eyes. A hope. I told her I would let her finish her meal and that we would wait outside.
We scanned the halls for a few moments and then returned. In the bed was a very beautiful, yet very frail woman. She was very old but still quite pretty. Her name is June. She gave me her hand and I prayed for her.
When I was through praying, she still clutched my hand and said, "thank you." She was so grateful that someone had come into her lonely room. She told me that I was raising my children "right" by showing them how to love others.
Thank you Jesus. This is what I have always hoped for. To be a shining example to my children...and to others.
I told her that next time we came by, we would say hello. I told her that I don't get to come too often because of my work..but we would remember her in our prayers.
There was another person in the room. An inhabitant. Separated by a curtain.
I asked her if she wanted a prayer. She didn't seem very old. Quite young, actually. She appeared to be in her forties. Her hair was the color of sand, only it had streaks of blue, green, maybe a few other colors mixed in. She wore a big blue ring. She nodded her head very fervently when I asked her if she wanted a prayer.
In my prayer I told her of God's great love for her. I told her she was loved. I could feel Jesus urging me to let her know of the Love. As I mentioned the word, Love....that four letter word that we so long for, I could see her holding back tears. I could tell that no one has told her they loved her in a very long time.
I learned that she was deaf. She could hear, but not speak. I told her that I loved her in sign language. She smiled. I knew that Jesus left a mark on her heart.
Love...such a simple concept. But such a powerful force. Pure, true, love, cloaked in innocence, stained with blood...that is my Jesus. A very real embodiment of great divine love.
Next, we saw a lady standing in the middle of the hall. We explained that we were trying to bring some light into thier dwelling. Would you like a prayer, we asked. She said, "maybe later." She said she was angry at the "dog food" they were feeding her. She then averted my eyes with the pointing of her finger, to a ziploc bag filled with the remnants of her lunch. She said they feed her "dog food" but her roomate gets what looks like steak.
I must admit the contents of her lunch bag did appear less than appetizing. We gave her a hug and told her we loved her. It didn't occur to me until just now that I could've bought her another lunch.
Next, we walked into a room. There was a man in there by himself. His tv was very loud. He wore a hearing aid. We asked if we could pray with him. He smiled, put his hand to his hearing aid and beckoned us to speak louder.
I asked him if he knew Jesus and could we pray with him...He very fervently shook his head yes and smiled. I noticed that he wore many crosses around his neck. Rosaries and crosses.
So we prayed. He expressed his gladness that we had come to pray with him. His face lit up with a huge smile. I believe that he knew Jesus.
We walked into another room. One lady was sleeping soundly. Another woman sat in a wheelchair. She had a white bun sitting neatly atop her head. We asked if she wanted a prayer.
Why yes, of course, she said. I would love a prayer.
So we prayed. I could tell that she knew Him. She asked me if what church I attended and if the Holy Ghost was there...I told her and I said, yes, He is there.
I asked if I could take her picture. I told her that I wanted people to see, through my blog, that humans live here. Humans that need love. People that need a little of His Light. I told her I wanted to encourage and inspire others to visit this dark place.
So if you are reading this..and want to go...I went to Resthaven..but there are nursing homes across the country that need Light. At Resthaven, *234 unlocks the door. He unlocks so much more.
I can't help but wonder if I will ever be in a nursing home. I guess there is no way to know. But I can only pray that if I am,,someone will find the time to come say hello....