Friday, July 6, 2007

Growing old

I went to visit my grandma the other day at her nursing home. She is at a wonderful place that specializes in helping people with mental problems live out their last days. It was a bittersweet visit. On one hand it was good to see her, and she seemed happy to be there. On the other hand it's very sobering to see a place full of people whose minds don't work anymore.

There was a very nice courtyard with people shuffling around in it. Two ladies in particular simply moved about the courtyard continuously, unable to figured out how to get out of the courtyard. At one point I opened a door for them and they seemed even more confused. I realized, sadly, that it's best to just let them shuffle around. There was another woman who is always walking around looking for the street. She very politely asks people how to get to the street.

I watched my grandma and grandpa sit together (he still lives at home) and they were clearly happy to be together. My grandpa read scripture to her, and his voice was loud and clear like it had been when he used to preach regularly, not quiet like it usually is. It was neat for me to hear that voice again, I haven't heard it in years.

Then my grandma went to the piano and began to play. One after another hymns poured forth on a very out of tune piano. The other residents took notice and gathered around to listen to her play. Every one was played from memory, and was heavily embelished. A lifetime at the keyboard really shows. After a few songs she was too tired to keep her head up anymore, and rested on the piano.

The whole experience was very surreal, but encouraging in a strange way. At the end of life, God's word is clearly the most important thing in their lives. While my grandma can barely speak or eat, she can still praise God with music, and she does.

Psa. 61:4 ¶ Let me dwell in your tent forever!
Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! Selah
Psa. 61:5 For you, O God, have heard my vows;
you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.
Psa. 61:6 ¶ Prolong the life of the king;
may his years endure to all generations!
Psa. 61:7 May he be enthroned forever before God;
appoint steadfast love and faithfulness to watch over him!
Psa. 61:8 ¶ So will I ever sing praises to your name,
as I perform my vows day after day.

It was very touching to see my grandma clinging to God as she waits for Him to call her home. I think this period of time is for us to observe what really matters when our days come to a close. The experience at the home was a great reminder that nothing on this earth is permanent. Our minds will go, our bodies will wither, and only the things of God remain.


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