2015-04-02 - Being Thankful
The other day, I had the privilege of spending time with a dear brother in Christ from many years ago. It was my second visit. I was with him and his wife, on the Alzheimer’s floor at a local health and rehabilitation unit. He has been coming to see and care for his wife for almost a year-and-a-half following her recovering from a hip fracture. When I first met them both we attended a different church. Her brother was the Pastor, and they were also an intricate part of the church. I recall singing in the choir there with his wife, and also many times, the two of them did duets of praise and worship. They had already known each other a lifetime, when I met them.
Now life is much different for them. I noticed, in each of my recent visits, that if someone came in, he would tell others I was there to see his wife. While that was true, I was also there to support him. Many times, people get lost in Alzheimer’s and not just the person stricken. I have seen it before, and know that they are both important. I also met her roommate. A sweet little lady, maybe a decade older than them, in their mid-seventies - and oddly enough - someone they, too, went to church with years ago. As he helped his dear wife have some supper, I noticed the roommate struggling physically to get any of her dinner. I decided that I should try to assist her, should she want me to do so. From discussion, I had learned that she loved chocolate ice cream and noticed some on her tray, along with the milk she was happy to receive. And then there was the chewy chocolate chip cookie, which seemed a perfect followup to the ice cream and milk.
Before leaving the visit with old friends, I asked the dear lady who shares the room, if she would like some water, and also some hand cream. She kept wringing her hands together, and I noticed the cream on the bedside table. What I observed, about each and every thing I helped her with, was how incredibly grateful she was that I had taken the time for her, and I found it quite humbling. Her roommate has her husband to help with those things every day, as he comes by, but she doesn’t. Sure, a staff member may occasionally assist in those ways, but most often, in ways required of them. Those little things that make a person feel as though they matter, can often be forgotten in large group settings, with so many needing attending. Very often, there simply isn’t time for what is likely thought of as extra care. A sweet little lady, being thrilled by a few small acts of care and concern, reminded how important it is to be thankful.
It made me even more thankful for a husband so dedicated to the care of his wife, in what is such a difficult scenario for both of them, compared to the one in which I first met them. It also made me think about what I am able to do, even in scenarios when I do not really feel like I might be a blessing. We can be more of a help to friends and brothers and sisters in Christ, than we often realize, even in the smallest of ways. We can support people by sending them notes or by calling, by setting up a time to come by and visit, by bringing them meals or gift cards. We can also share the load, giving them breaks to go out (for those who are caregivers to family) now and again, asking what they might need, and following through for them, and so much more. I hope that should I live to be almost ninety years old, that someone will help me get hand cream when I cannot reach it, or am too weak to move and do it myself. It seems like a small thing, but it reminds me of how those small things can be a huge blessing that we may just take for granted. What are you thankful for today?
“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” (Psalm 100:4)
All scripture references are from the King James Version (KJV) unless otherwise noted.