Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sharing Life

This leg of our trip finds Ray and I staying in a guest room within the retirement community where his mom lives.
This community encompasses three separate living facilities: independent, assisted-living and full care.

Mom is a resident in the independent portion, at the moment. 
It is its own little world. 
One in which you barely need to venture from should you so choose.

There are activities such as, bingo, cards, movies, book clubs, numerous socials, exercise, etc.
There is a computer room (where I sit right now).  The print on the screen and the keyboard are all extra large.  Very easy to see, just like the large print books in their library.

Three meals are offered every day, as well as coffee-and around the clock.

Need to go to church, the doctor or the store?  A bus is available for your convenience!

Everything is designed to meet the particular needs of the elderly.  To some this sounds perfect.  Obviously, as there are facilities like this all around our country.

We have eaten our breakfast with a few of mom's fellow residents the past two mornings.
A single man, Roger sat at the end of the table both mornings.  Yesterday he was very responsive to my efforts to engage him in a conversation.
Before he arrived this morning I heard two women expressing their surprise over how talkative he had been the previous morning.  They had never heard him say much of anything before.

It took no time to get Roger talking this morning either.  The two ladies exchanged looks of surprise as he and I conversed.

He was a professor of art for over thirty years up in our neck of the woods.  Well, Rhode Island is in New England, so it qualifies!

This place is filled with people from all walks of life.  Police detectives, nurses, bankers, laboratory technicians, secretaries, business people, et cetra, surround us.
Each one has a story; actually, many stories.
Many are glad to share these stories, if anyone should think to ask.
I want them to tell them to me!
I want them to tell them to my children and my children's children!

This past weekend I overheard a conversation between two people who where discussing an older family member.  One comment stayed with me.
"Well, they might as well accept the fact that they will end up in one of those facilities eventually."
I wanted to stick my nose in and ask them why?
Why does that have to be the inevitable end?

My sons and I would visit a local convalescent home, when they were still children.  Many of the residents never had any visitors.  So sad.
Sad for them, but also for those who cheated themselves out of all they could have gained from these ones who had a lifetime of experiences to share.

To be sure there are situations and conditions that leave families no choice, but as I look around here that is not the case for these residents.  Nor is it the case for many in so many places.

Some might be wondering why Mom is here. 
It was not our choice, but at her insistence.
Her desire to not burden us has backfired.  There is too much distance between us.  When she has difficulties it is not a family member who steps in to help.

I think it was our culture that influenced her choices and now we all lose.
We lose out on many of her memories and many of her insights.

Our God designed the family to be multi-generational. 
That goes for His family.
It is a blessing to be able to spend time with those who have lived more years than I; ones who have tested our God and found Him wholly faithful.
It is also a joy to be able the share what I have learned, thus far, with those who are more tender in years than I.

The Seventy-First chapter of Psalms expresses it this way in verses seventeen and eighteen:
"O God, You have taught me from my youth; and I still declare Your wondrous deeds, and even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come."
Yes, it is my desire to live my life and share my life all to His Glory!

LORD willing, I will be back at this keyboard tomorrow evening, as I still haven't touched that word pile!
There are, at least, the subject of marriage and the subjects of simplicity and solitude to explore!

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