New International Version (NIV)
Listening and Doing19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
The other morning I woke up and felt as if God were telling me to read the book of James. So I did, and several parts stood out.. The part about doing what the word says rather than simply talking about it. The other part that stood out was the verse about caring for orphans and widows.
I realized after I read that verse, that I hadn't been to the nursing home in quite a while. I visit on occassion. The nursing home is filled with widows. If you want to find a place of suffering and despair, visit your local nursing home.
Several months earlier, the boys and I had gone and met some really amazing people. I met a dear lady who was so upset that her family didn't come see her at Christmas. I asked her if she needed anything, and she asked for honeybuns and new batteries for her hearing aid.
So the boys and I went to the store and fulfilled her request.
We also met a wonderful lady named Delores. She doted after Cade, telling me how handsome he was. She was so lonely that she didn't want us to leave.
This time around, I picked up some more honeybuns. I planned to give them to old friend and I planned on chatting with Delores.
When I got there, I went to drop off the honeybuns and say hello..only (and forgive me I can't remember her name :( , but she wasn't there. Someone else had moved into her bed. I had a sinking feeling and I was too afraid to ask what happened to her.
We then walked into Delores room. I saw she was sleeping so I walked to visit with her roommate. (Two people share a room in this particular nursing home) She told me that Delores wasn't doing well. She said that she hasn't been opening her eyes much and that she didn't think she had much longer left. The sinking feeling again rose up in the pit of my stomach.
After I spoke with the roomate, I walked over to Delores bedside. I don't really consider myself to be an affectionate person, but I felt as if I was supposed to grab her hand and just hold it for a while. So I did. I started speaking to her and I saw her open her eyes. I don't consider myself to be a talkative person. I'm rather shy around people, but, on that day..I looked Delores in the eyes and I told her that everything is going to be ok. I told her that she is a strong woman. I told her that God loves her and that this suffering is only temporary. I put my hand on her forehead and wiped the hair away from her eyes. I asked her if she could speak and she made a noise that sounded like a grunt. I told her that even though the words won't come, God sees her pray. Pray with your heart, Delores.
We sat by her for about an hour, and as we left, we told her that we loved her.
I walked to another part of the building and I saw a man hunched over in a wheel chair. He looked to be shaking. I asked him if he was cold and he nodded that he was cold. I noticed that he had no blankets on his bed. Only the standard issued sheet. So, I wrapped him in his sheet. He thanked us.
The next day, I saw an unused blanket sitting in the top of my closet, so I took it down. It was gathering dust and I knew a man who could really use it. When I got there to give it to him, he was asleep.
But I spread it across his sleeping body, the way a mother would do for a child. He woke up for a moment and I told him that I was giving him my blanket. He smiled and thanked me and fell back asleep.
We stopped and checked on Delores again. She smiled at us.
Last week was so unbelievably busy. I bought decorations for the house I'll soon be renting, I made my own soap, learned how to distress a table, distressed said table, and the list goes on...
Out of all of the amazing things I did last week, the greatest fulfillment came through giving. The Bible said to trade our joy for mourning. "Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness."
The day I left the nursing home, I was deeply saddened. I was saddened by the lonlieness, the rejection, and the death that lives in those walls. But, I knew when I left that those are the kinds of places we are supposed to be..trading in our joy so that we can suffer with others in the same way that Christ suffered for us.
Some people forget about the elderly, the "widows". Many write them off as just being "old."
We fail to see the child in them. We fail to treat them as we would want to be treated.
No one, and I mean no one, would ever want to die alone.
Sometimes I wish more people out there would visit the elderly. If everyone had one person to visit, then places of death would quickly spring into places of life. I think my biggest hope is that this post will challenge someone to be a light to the elderly.