Before Christmas I was inspired by another adoptive mom, Melanie, whose blog I follow at http://www.the30dayjourneyforhope.blogspot.com/, to spend my time more wisely - doing things that really matter. . .that will have an eternal purpose perhaps. Melanie shared about an afternoon that she and her children spent at a nursing home and how that one visit really changed their perpective. After reading that entry, I was motivated to do the same so one of - no make that my only - New Year's Resolution was to begin a nursing home ministry with my oldest children.
I believe our 1st visit was the very 1st Sunday in January. We had gathered several small bottles of lotion, some leftover candy canes, and a few "Daily Bread" devotionals, and we set off to spend an hour or so with the residents of our local nursing home. I don't like nursing homes. The smell has always bothered me and although I knew we needed to make that visit, I was a little uneasy. I prayed for our 1st visit to go well so we would all want to return in 2 weeks. God surely answered my prayer. We visited with several residents including my great-aunt Vi. I am ashamed to admit that I had never visited her before, and she lives only 10 minutes from my home. On our first trip, we also met Ms. Lillie, Ms. Alice, and Ms. Betty Jean. What a blessing it was to spend an hour or so visiting with these precious ladies. After leaving, Shelby, Katie, Fulton, and I were reflecting on our time there and that while it surely didn't cost us much of anything other than a little time, the reward was indeed great.
I am happy to say that we are still visiting the residents every other Sunday. Only 3 weeks ago, we met a lovely 91 year old member of our church who was residing at the home although we did not know this during our first few visits. Ms. Susie was a delightful and lively lady. Although she was 91, she quoted a precious poem to us about 2 little kittens who were fighting but in the end decided it was better to get along with one another. This poem was so long, and I was simply amazed at her ability to remember it after so many years - her mother used to tell it to her to encourage her and her siblings to get along. Last Sunday at church, we were told that Ms. Susie was in the hospital with kidney failure. We were so disappointed as we had planned on visiting with her that very day. This past Wednesday, Ms. Susie died. Shelby, Katie and I were saddened and shocked. As I have been reflecting on her death these last few days, God has reminded me of how quickly death can come. We took for granted that we would see Ms. Susie again, but we did not have the opportunity. However, I am so very thankful that God allowed me the blessing of meeting Ms. Susie and to think that I almost missed my only chance. She lived for 91 years yet I only met her 2 and a half weeks before her death. A gift from our Lord no doubt.
Today we made our visit to the home, and as we were heading to Aunt Vi's room, we saw where Ms. Gladys' room was empty. Ms. Gladys was another dear lady we met on the same day we met Ms. Susie. Later we found out that she too had died this week. Again, another reminder to live in the present as we do not know God's plans for our future. The present moment is all that we are guaranteed. The "present" is indeed a gift and one that we should treasure. Instead of running to the next "thing" on our list as I am so guilty of doing, we all should take time to enjoy this gift of the "present" that God has given to us.
I thank you for the gift of the present. I thank you for the gift of meeting one of your precious saints only weeks before you called her home. I pray that this week I will take the time to enjoy each and every moment you give to me and not take for granted that tomorrow will come. I pray for each person who reads this that they too will purposefully choose to live in the present.
May we each seek to bring you glory as we tend to those who are less fortunate than ourselves - the widows, the homeless, the orphan, whoever it is that you place in our paths. May we take the time to minister to them just as Jesus did 2, 000 years ago. May we not pass by the moment assuming there will be another opportunity. In the name of Jesus, Amen.