Two years ago our church family went Christmas caroling at the area rest home. Something happened that night. Maybe it was the warmth of the home, or the spirit of the season, maybe it was the memory of my beloved grandparents; I don’t know what it was, but I was hooked.
I called the activities director the next week and asked if I could come to the home once a week and read. I filled out a volunteer sheet, picked out a book, and showed up. It was awkward. Some slept. Some got up and left. Some obviously couldn’t hear me. But some took hold of me and wouldn’t let go.
That was two years ago. Now I’m not sure who is holding on to whom.
Every week I read two chapters of scripture and two chapters of a fiction book. Every week they ask about my kids, my life, my travels, my church. Every week I ask what plans they have for the day, the week, the upcoming holiday. Sometimes I take them candy. They invited me to the Family Day Celebration. They sang to me on my birthday and gave me a card.
Somehow my volunteering to read to them, for them, to do something good for someone else. . . turned into something VERY good for ME.
I have prayed over a dying mother while her daughter stood nearby. I have signed for and danced with deaf sisters. I have listened to stories about spouses returning from Vietnam and yet not returning. I have heard stories about shark attacks, baking pies, and Loretta Lynn’s sister.
I have listened to Lillie learn to talk again. I have finally brought a smile to Pat’s face – one of my greatest accomplishments for 2016! I have learned that quiet Penny likes to listen to me read, that Nance likes to paint, and that Dianne loves dogs.
I used to call them “The old people.” But something has changed.
In the midst of trying to like them, I discovered that I love them. Now I call them “My people.”
“Stand up in the presence of the elderly, and show respect for the aged. Fear your God. I am the LORD.” Leviticus 19:32 NLT