Tuesday, March 18, 2014

the nursing home

"When I came to live in here, my daughter told me, 
'Now mom, weekends are me and my husband's time.'
She told me she'd come see me during the week, but she only comes every two or three."

That's what my new friend at the nursing home told me today. 

And this here is my friend of many years, Rachel.*
Know what she told me today?
Her earliest childhood memory is getting raped by her stepdad when she was 4 or 5. 
"I remember when he raped me for the first time. I told him I hated him. My mom got mad at me. I got a whoopin."

When I was about 16, I started visiting nursing homes.
Now I'm not some sort of saint. 
If anything, I started going there because there was a lack of love in my heart and I sort of knew that these elderly people would help bring more love to my weak heart. 
My heart still needs help, so I still go the nursing home. 

Some of the best friendships I've ever had were made in a 12x16 room, with wrinkled beauties who are awaiting death in a place that's not their home.

Many of those friends are no longer living in a 12x16 room, but in a place where their faces aren't wrinkled and they are never left alone. 

I'm not against nursing homes, and a person who puts a parent in a nursing home because they can't give them the care they need has nothing to be ashamed of. 
But a person who puts a parent in a nursing home and then sort of forgets about them, they need to re-think some things. 

Of all the nursing home friends I've had over the past 10 years, I've met three relatives. That means there have only been three relatives in the room who were there at the same time as me. 
Granted, there have probably been several visiting relatives who just had a different schedule than me, but what I'm trying to say is that there are a whole lot of lonely people in nursing homes. 

You know what Jesus likes Christians to do for lonely people?
Help them not be lonely anymore. 

I'm guessing you have a nursing home within a 30 minute drive of where you're sitting right now. 
Drive to it sometime. 
Walk into a room or two and watch what happens. 

You'll make a friend, maybe two or three.
Your heart will get warmer, maybe even bigger. 
You'll learn about what's on Jesus' heart, 
and you'll most likely brighten someone's day. 

*Resident's name changed, 
permission was granted by resident to publish this photograph and information, legal forms were signed