Saturday, January 30, 2010

so much to give

As I was sitting in the doctor's office waiting for my mother I had time to watch those around me. On this day the office was filled with elderly folks, many of which had their daughters or sons bringing them in to help ease the burden for their parents. Some come alone, only to be dropped off by a worker to find all their cards and fill out papers on their own, trying to see with all their might and keep their hands steady.


As my son and I sat talking and watching, our hearts were breaking for the elderly who were being seated only to have to keep getting up. We noticed how different some of the office workers would speak to them. We noticed how many ignore them and turn the other way. My son is always one who loves to talk with older folks. I think he earned this love from spending so much time with his grandpa and hearing his stories. My son says hello and asks how they are doing today. He opens doors for them, helps them through the doors and makes them feel as though they are someone, someone who is special.


Too many times our elderly are treated without respect, without love, and without concern. They are pushed aside, only to wonder why. They are expected to know all the information the office workers are asking, and to understand all they are saying, but they do not. They can get confused easily, they can become afraid and you can see this in their eyes.


The elderly in this world carry with them so much wisdom, so much information and stories that need to be shared. When they are gone, important stories go with them. Stories today that many do not care to hear.


I know as my mom was growing up, she grew up in a poor part of Arkansas, along with my dad. They both had eighth grade educations, and had to quit school only to help out at home. My mom picked cotton since she was a little girl, and my dad helped to fish for his families dinner. They had hard lives, but as they grew it made them stronger, wiser and full of stories to share to help me and others learn and grow from the past.


Yes, the future is important, technology is great, but to a point, the more we move forward the more we are losing. We have become so impersonal now, and in our world if you are not of use many times you are left to feel useless, just as the elderly do. We are leaving behind the very people who helped make us who we are, and paved the way for us to come through.


My daughter works in a nursing home and is going to nursing school. She loves working with the folks there. She shares how many people have no one to visit them, and how alone they feel. Some have families that are too busy to come, some have no families left at all. That is heartbreaking. There are those who are blessed with loving families that are there to surround them, and not only them, but they reach out to others also.


The elderly in our society should be respected, revered, and honored for all they have done for their country, for their families, and for their strength. They should be held high and taken care of, not left to the side.


I see how my mother struggles with medications, with medicare, and how confusing it is for her. I am there along with my children and husband to help my mom. To care for her, but what about those who have no family or are left to care for themselves? Are we not to care for those around us? To love and reach out, helping in anyway we can?


Where is their legacy if it can not be told? If it can not be shared? The elderly have so much to give. They are those who made this country strong, they have given their whole lives, only to be seen as what? A burden to society?


The elderly should not have to struggle, to fend for themselves, nor should they have to decide if they purchase food or medication for the month.


One day, we too will grow old. How do we wish to be treated? For us to spend time with the elderly is not only a gift to them, but a gift to ourselves. When we give, we receive something valuable, something words cannot even express.


We can make the difference in the life of the elderly. We can make them feel important and show them that love they are so desiring. Make today the day you reach out and touch the hand of someone who will forever make an impact on your life.


Leviticus 19:32 "Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord."
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