She sits on the long porch of the nursing home, her small, thin body buried under heavy woolen garments. Her wrinkled face is expressionless in the light of the warm spring sun.
Her chair faced the small, neat lawn and the busy street beyond, but her eyes gave no indication that she was aware of the life-moving traffic which impersonally passed her by.
She was alone. Another patient – a white-haired man with a strong youthful body, but with the same lifeless eyes – sat not far away. But still, she was alone.
Occasionally an attendant in a white, heavily-starched uniform passed by, stopping briefly to tuck the shawl more tightly around her drooping shoulders. And yet, she was alone.
She was alone because loneliness is not dependent upon the absence of others. Loneliness often thrives in the most active of crowds. And that is the very worst kind of isolation, because it is born of that debilitating feeling of absolute worthlessness.
This woman who sits daily for long hours on the nursing home porch is only one of the many thousands who stare at the world, unseeing. It is not because they are physically blind or helpless, but because, to the younger world, they have apparently outlived their usefulness.
A good many, perhaps most, of the patients in convalescent homes are there because their physical condition requires special care which they could not receive at home. Others are there because they choose to be. It is because they have no home, and seek to live out their last days with others of similar circumstances.
But there are many, far too many, who are there simply because they have become burdens to their children and grandchildren. They are a stranger to their own, a responsibility to those who shun responsibility and an embarrassment to the emphasis of youth.
They move more slowly, they forget more easily, their fingers grasp less securely, and their eyes see less clearly.
And so she waits. She sits on the nursing home porch waiting for the relative or friend who comes so seldom and visits so briefly. And while she waits, she is alone.
What senior adult do you know, especially if they live in a nursing home or assisted living, that you can you call, today, tomorrow and this coming week to cheer them up? Your caring voice is the caring voice of Jesus?
Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home. John 19:25
We are all inundated with the media’s messages on the coronavirus. We are all living in a different world than a couple of weeks ago – stores and restaurants are closed as well as schools and churches. We are told to stay home and to stay at least six feet away from others. We must keep washing our hands! All these messages are having a devastating effect on our inner life – our emotions and our spiritual life.
I will be sending out Special Daily Treats to help with the fears, the isolation, the loneliness and the aggravation that we all feel. I firmly believe that this is as important a message as the precautions and the coronavirus number count. My regular Daily Treat will continue to be sent out early each morning. These Special Daily Treats will be sent out later in the day.
I would especially love to hear from you and how you are doing along with your comments, questions and suggestions. My email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org. This is the address I check throughout the day.
Please listen to my Daily Treats on my Podcast. The email I send you each day has the title of the article underlined. Please click on the underlined title. You will then see the picture for the day along with the article. Just click on the triangle in the little green circle next to the Treats for the Soul logo and you can listen to the Podcast for that day.
Please invite your family and your friends to subscribe. We need to assist each other through these trying times with help and strength from the Lord. Blessings!!
Fr. Med Laz