Friday, June 20, 2014

A Life of Purpose, Even in the Elderly Years

Don't let aging get you down.  It's too hard to get back up.-John Wagner

As you get older, three things happen.  The first is your memory goes, and I can't remember the other two...-Sir Norman Wisdom

The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.-Lucille Ball

You know you are old when you don't pinch an inch on your waist anymore, you can pinch it on your forehead.-Unknown

I'm so old they cancelled my blood type.-Bob Hope

Oh to be 70 again!-Unknown

A stockbroker told me to buy a stock that pays dividends every year.  I said at my age I don't even buy green bananas.-Unknown

Doesn't pay to get old.-Unknown

As you age, you feel like everything is falling apart, you can't do what you used to, and you are slow.  What is your purpose in the fall and winter of your life?  If you look at the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew Chapter 5, Jesus starts out speaking of the Beatitudes.  He then speaks of us being the salt of the earth, a candle on a candlestick, and a city that is set on a hill.

What does it mean to be the salt of the earth?  Salt on our food gives it flavor and saves us from bland tastes.  In the same way, we are commanded to be the flavor to those around us.  Jesus says we would not light a candle and put it under a bushel.  But on a candlestick and it gives light to all who are in the house.  We are that candle.  We should be on a candlestick, not hidden for no one to see.  A city on a hill can not be hidden.  We are to be that city.  I am suggesting that in all phases of our lives we have purpose.

This life isn't about us.  It isn't about whether we can walk or clean our homes or remember what we did yesterday.  It is about being salt of the Earth giving it flavor and glorifying God even in our elderly years.

Elderly people bring light to my life.  They help me keep focus as I raise my children.  They keep me on track as I strive to serve God.  They give me an opportunity to serve God through my job at the old folks home by helping them walk, helping them get things they need, or taking them to the doctor.  If there were not elderly people who need help then we younger people would be deprived of the opportunity to serve.

As you grow older you have unique ability to be a light to those around you.  To be a city that is set on a hill.  You do this with declining health.  You become someone who teaches young people how to be humble and kind.  You have purpose.

Titus 2:2-6

English Standard Version (ESV)
Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled.

We are all actors in God's screenplay.  He has a purpose for all of us in every phase of our lives.  But what about my mother-in-law?  She is in a skilled nursing facility with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's Disease, and has had a stroke.  The doctors said she would most likely not walk again.  She has not known who we are in quite some time.  She is bedridden and doesn't speak coherently any more.  What is her purpose? She gives others the opportunity to serve God and minister by caring for her basic needs.  

Matthew 25:31-46

New International Version (NIV)
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fireprepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.

In the above passage, we learn that Jesus wants us to minister to those who are hungry, thirsty, need clothing, sick or in prison.  In other words, take care of basic needs for those who can't care for themselves.  So if there were not elderly people in beds or any person who is in need, then the younger folks would have no one to learn from, minister to, or ability to do something for God.

So if you are elderly, may you  never sit and wonder why you are still here.  You are here for God's purpose.  God wants us all to be servants and also to give other servants opportunity to serve.

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Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Day I Wanted to Strangle Someone

I work at an assisted living facility. I drive the bus to transport residents to doctor's appointments, Walmart, etc. As I have grown accustomed to be transportation extroidenair, I have learned that I am an advocate for those who sometimes can't advocate for themselves. Which brings me to today's blog post. I had a situation this past week that made me want to strangle someone.  I will change the names and some of the content as not to violate any HIPPA regulations. The point is still the same. 

I arrived at work to check the transportation schedule for the day. I had to take a resident to the doctor. The resident has an injury that causes them to have memory issues and wander. They can't be left alone. 20 minutes before it's time to leave I try to find the resident to no avail. I got help to find them. Finally, I found the resident who had no recollection of an appointment that day and got them to the bus. By the time we drove to the doctor's office, we were 20 minutes late. (I left out a large part of what I went through to round up the resident). I walked them up to the desk, signed them in, only to have the receptionist say to us, "Oh I am sorry. You are late and we can't see you today."  

Now I have sat in almost every waiting room in Hendersonville, Gallatin, and Goodlettsville and I have waited with residents for up to 2 hours to see a doctor but I am late and this doctor won't see them?!  They have NO IDEA what we went through to get there 20 minutes late. It wasn't planned. We did the best we could to get there. I WANTED TO STRANGLE THE DOCTOR.  How has our society become to insensitive to the plight of others?!

To the rude waitress, maybe she is having marital problems. To the inattentive child, maybe they are watching their mother battle cancer. To the boy who is in special education, maybe he is the best electrician you could ever know. The list goes on and on. Tolerate others and have compassion on them. We all have a story. 

I would like you all to know that the doctor's office that turned us away for being late was Dr. Cruz, a neurologist in Hendersonville at Hendersonville Medical Center. DO NOT go to this doctor. They have no patience with neurological problems because they turned away a resident who had neurological problems because they were late due to their neurological problem. 

I stayed mad about this the rest of the day. The poor resident had no idea why we rode over there and right back. 

May we all be more tolerant of others. Most people are not intentionally late, mean, disconnected or rude. Everyone has a story. Try to understand even if you don't have the facts. 

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Be Kind to Others,