Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor Him in your youth before you grow old and say, “Life is not pleasant anymore.” Remember Him before the light of the sun, moon, and stars is dim to your old eyes, and rain clouds continually darken your sky. Remember Him before your legs– the guards of your house–start to tremble; and before your shoulders–strong men–stoop. Remember him before your teeth–your few remaining servants–stop grinding; and before your eyes–the women looking through the windows–see dimly.
As a child, I would spend some of my summers in Iowa with my grandparents. On one particular visit my grandmother took me to see my great-great grandmother who was living in a nursing home due to advanced Alzheimer’s. This is what I remember:
The building was one story and a somewhat dirty, dark brown brick. I don’t remember there being anything special with the outside. No flowers or peaceful landscaping. No people milling about, just a quiet atmosphere. My grandmother took me by the hand and we entered the building. Again, no fancy decorations but an overwhelming amount of silver, people and noise. We made it to my great-great grandmother’s room and there she sat in a chair almost completely covered by a blanket with only her head showing. She didn’t say a word. She just looked without recognition. I remember her penetrating blue eyes. I could sense she was really in there but for some reason she just couldn’t get out. Like she wanted to speak but her mouth just couldn’t form the words. She was completely helpless. My heart broke for her. In that moment, I felt as if I had left my body and dived right into hers. I desperately wanted to move for her and speak for but I just couldn’t.
Few words were spoken and then we said our goodbyes and there she sat. Not sad that we were leaving. Not happy that we were there. No walking us to the door and waving…there was nothing. Just silence.
I was led by my grandmother into some sort of day room. I don’t remember it being an especially happy area. It was a gathering of struggle, loss and vacancy. I pulled my eyes away from the glare and the shock and noticed the ladies in their red and white tops, hair pulled back reaching out in kindness towards the poor people who were having trouble walking, speaking and eating. These ladies brightened this room and the feelings that arose within me were life changing!
“This is what I want to do when I get bigger. I want to take care of these people!”
Today, I am a nursing assistant and I do take care of people just like those in my great great grandmother’s nursing home. I consider it an honor and a privilege to assist the elderly with their daily needs. My heart is full when I’m in their company. I cannot begin to tell you the amount of wisdom I have gained from each conversation that I’ve had with each of my residents. Many have said to me, “It goes by fast so enjoy it while you can!”
1 Peter 2:24,25 says:
“People are like grass;
their beauty is like a flower in the field.
The grass withers and the flower fades.
But the Word of the Lord remains forever.”