Sometimes I hear true stories that make my heart hurt. I’m a pastor’s wife and we hear all kinds of things…
I heard a story awhile back about a middle-aged man who told his sister she should visit their widowed, elderly mom more often. This sister told him that he couldn’t tell her what to do, and continued her habit of visiting their lonely mother, who lived within a reasonable driving distance, about once a year.
I heard another story from an elderly woman whose son dutifully visited every day to hand her the medications she needed. But the woman said with dismay, “He never takes his hand off the doorknob.”
And just this week, an elderly man told me, “I haven’t talked to my son since Christmas. Maybe I didn’t even talk to him then—there were so many relatives here that day, I can’t remember.” He looked sad and hurt and my heart went out to him.
Why does this happen? Why are the elderly virtually abandoned by so many? By even their own children?
Are we really so busy that we don’t have time for Grandma?
I was reading a devotional today that referenced Isaiah 58 starting with verse 6, which speaks on the type of fast that God has chosen. In verse 7 it says, “Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out….And not hide yourself from your own flesh?”
Many people are abstaining from some food, pleasure or comfort right now in this season of Lent. And this can be a very good and right thing.
But reading this verse makes me wonder if sometimes it would please God even more if we brought a meal to Dad or Grandpa and shared it with him.
And isn’t it interesting that way back in Isaiah’s time people were hiding themselves from their own flesh? Apparently it has always been a temptation to ignore family members who need us.
We’re all busy, and we all have our own things that we need to do and want to do. But please, please, please let’s take time to sit with our elderly loved ones.
Let’s visit regularly and as often as distance allows. If Mom, or Dad, lives too far away, let’s call and have long phone chats. When we do visit let’s take our hands off the doorknob and not keep glancing at the clock.
Let’s show our dear elders, with our time, that they are precious and valuable. Let’s ask them about their childhood and their life and learn their testimonies and wisdom. Let’s see what we can do to help and then do it. Let’s hug them close while they’re still here.
There are tender moments to treasure. There are stories to hear. There are wrinkled hands to be held and sparkling eyes and smiles to cherish. There are sweet memories to be made and held dear.
None of us knows when a visit will be the last one this side of heaven. Please don’t let that last visit be the one you never got around to having.