Mrs. Nell can't remember Hope's name to save her life. She continually asked: "What is that cute little girl wearing the glasses' name?" I probably told her six different times.
As for James, the tall elderly black fella', he just wants to stand around and laugh at Charlie's bright orange hair. It really cracks him up.
Then there is Grace....."When my husband died seventeen years ago, we had just moved to this area. In life, sometimes, you just have to make a decision to keep moving forward. That's what I have done. Now my right arm is paralyzed and I can barely use my left one because of arthritis. I have to fight the feeling of being useless. I have decided to be as nice and friendly as I can to everyone I meet.....I just want to be a good friend, because that's all I can be. People tell me I am making a difference, and I hope I am."
A year ago, my Grandmother died. We buried her on her favorite day of the year.....Christmas Eve. Each year, on Christmas Eve, all of the family gathered at her house for a big ham, potato salad (with sweet pickles and tomatoes), green beans, okra, corn, sweet potato casserole, baked beans, cole slaw, coconut cake and pumpkin pie. She LOVED it. Every single year, without fail, when we would walk through the door she would say: "Don't look at me, I am a mess. I didn't brush my hair today, because I was afraid a hair would fall into all of the food I've been cooking. That would make us all sick." We would just shake our heads and laugh----her hair was always a mess on Christmas Eve. I miss her.
Seven months later, in July, my Grandfather died. My Grandad dropped out of school in the 8th grade so he could work to earn money to help provide for his large family during the Depression, he fought in WWII, helped start a company after the war that became very successful, earned a GED in his forties (just to show he could've graduated High School if he had had the opportunity), took incredible care of my Grandmother, who was eaten up with arthritis to such an extent she could not walk, use her arms or even turn her neck the last twenty years of her life, until she died, he made weekly visits to the nursing home for over thirty years (becoming a town legend), was treasurer in the local First Baptist Church and head greeter until he was 92, went sky diving at age 85, visited Ireland and Israel when he was in his 90's, and he cooked a large Sunday lunch every single week for my entire life....until he died. I miss him.
Both my grandfather (Mom's dad) and grandmother (Dad's mom) had to be put into assisted living facilities the last two years of their lives. The kids and I enjoyed making frequent visits to see them. They were in two different places, and we got to know many of the other residents at both places. We would bring gifts, sing songs, listen to funny stories, and have a great time when we visited Grandad and Mamow. After their deaths, however, it was difficult for me to even think about visiting a Nursing Home. The sweet memories of those I loved would cause me to break down and cry at the thought of it.....as a result, I stayed away......until today.
When we walked into the nearby Nursing Home today, the kids and I teared up immediately. Caleb whispered in my ear: "I'm not ready for this mom, it is still too soon." I shook my head at him and explained the importance of facing our sorrow and continuing to visit the elderly who become lonesome being trapped within the walls of the "home" they have been forced to move to because of bodies and minds that no longer cooperate. Taking care of widows and orphans in distress, plainly means just that: As believers, we are to be obedient and do it!
After meeting Mrs. Nell, James, and precious Grace, we were all happy we made the visit. When we climbed back into the van, we cried. It was a good cry. None of us needed to talk about the tears that flowed, we knew we were all thinking about the same thing: missing Mamow and Grandad.
We are going to make the Nursing Home a regular visit now that we have that "first time" under our belts. The next time will be easier; in fact, we'll look forward to seeing our new friends again. This time we brought them hand lotion, and Mrs. Grace told us her hands were so dry, she would have the lotion "used up" within a week or two......she suggested we bring some more very soon. Ha! Ha! And we will.
Yesterday I posted about how lives built upon big homes, fine cars, powerful jobs, private schools, sports activities, and social agendas will crumble with emptiness. I in no way meant to suggest families should sell all they have, quit their jobs, and turn backs on popular social circles in order to save orphans. Not necessary. What I am suggesting, though, is that every believer should desire to please the Lord and show love to Him by following James 1:27 and Matthew 25:40.
The visit to the nursing home took one hour today. We showed up hoping to be a blessing to someone in the home today, and ended up leaving with blessings heaped on us from the residents in the facility. Literally, they poured love upon us. We entered the Nursing Home with bottles of hand lotion to give out and asked the person at the front desk to give us several room numbers of residents who aren't blessed by frequent visitors. She gave us the names and room numbers, and we were off to visit. It was that easy.
To raise $300.00 for Sasha this week, our children took 6 hours of their time to do some neighborhood babysitting. (Sasha is an orphan with Down Syndrome who is currently waiting on a forever family through http://www.reecesrainbow.org/ ) Sasha is one year old and has nothing....not even one dime has been given to his adoption fund until this week. But we took the time to do it, and I mailed the $300.00 check to Reece's Rainbow today.
Everyone reading this blog can do something......should do something. What will you do? Can you take one hour next week to visit a widow in a local nursing home? Can you give up a couple of meals out this week and send the money to Sasha instead? If you are a student, can you babysit or do an extra chore to earn money to send to Sasha's adoption fund next week? If God is asking you to adopt an orphan, are you prepared to rise up in faith and say "yes"?
"But if someone who is supposed to be a Christian has enough money to live well, and sees a brother in need, and won't help him----how can God's love be within him? Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions. Then we will know for sure, by our actions, that we are on God's side, and our consciences will be clear, even when we stand before the Lord."
1 John 3: 17-19