Posts Tagged ‘James 14:13-14, vanishing mist, nursing homes, retirement villages, old people’s homes, dementia, short term memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease, going to be with the Lord, old age, living a good lif’

Jo 17I stood outside the nursing home, feeling like an interloper, as I punched in the code I had been told to use, in order to find my dear older friend’s room. I could have asked at the main entrance desk, but my friend’s family had advised me to go to the rear of the home and let myself in.

It seemed to be a beautiful place. As I made my way along, carefully checking room numbers, I saw several residents asleep in bed or hunched over in a chair. The corridors, which twisted and turned, made the home feel less like an institution, yet seemed to go on forever. Eventually I found a communal lounge area, where several men and women were watching TV, most fast asleep. I knew my friend’s room could not be far away—and yes, there was the number I was seeking at last.

Soon I was sharing morning tea with her and catching up on all our news. She still remembered so much, so we chatted on for around three hours, until I could see she needed to rest. We said our goodbyes then, she not wanting to see me go and I feeling so deeply for her in her new environment.

I decided to try to retrace my steps to the same door I had used to enter the building—a feat easier said than done. And, in the process of taking several wrong turns, I noticed many more residents in their rooms. Did they mind, I wondered. Were they content to be all alone like that? What had they done in their long lives? Did they have many pleasant memories to comfort them? Did their family members and friends ever visit? It was all so quiet.

Then, as I drove home, more questions surfaced  in my mind. Where would I be at my friend’s age of eighty-six? Would I be in a nursing home like her? Or would I still be living in our own home? Would I be actively involved in our world in various ways? Or would I have already gone to be with the Lord?

If my experience at the nursing home has shown me anything, it is this. I need to use my time on this earth well right now, living for God as best I can. We think we have forever in this life and can so easily take our eyes off our final goal. But life is so short, as James 4:13-14 reminds us:

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

Visiting my friend at the nursing home was certainly a reality check—and so is this verse. One day, the mist that is my life—and yours—will have vanished. Then it will be too late to make a difference in this world, to be active and involved, to do the things God has gifted us to do.

Let’s do them now, while we are able. And may God’s grace and peace fill us and flow through us as we do.

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