I am working on a project for an elderly care / nursing home. There is some renovation, as well as an addition we are building. That’s not what I want to talk about, though.
Every so often, I get to be in the area where the residents of this elder care home are milling about. Whenever I see one of the residents, I can’t help but smile at them, and say hi. The smile feels so genuine and warm, and I truly feel released when I get to see them.
The trouble is, the smile, and the hello is all I get to give them. I am working when I see them, and it would not be proper to do what I long to do. I want to continue that smile, and that hello, and walk to them, and talk with them. I want to get to know them, and hear the stories of their lives. Somehow, I am feeling like I never will.
I love children, and teens, people my age, and elders. But I have an especial heart for the ancient. I see them, and I want to hug them. I want to tell them I care, and “can I do anything for you?” I want to visit with them, and give them something they don’t get often, a simple visitor whose every attention is on them.
Will you pray for me, that I will get to do this? I know it seems selfish, because I like them so much. But the looks on their faces when I smile, and the smile they give back is worth the world to me. There is not much hope in elder care homes. Can I share at least some of my hope with them? Even if it’s not in word. How wonderful it would be just to sit with them.
I remember my grandfather from my mom’s side. I loved him so dearly. He took walks with me, told me stories, he even let me puff his pipe. The smell of that pipe I remember as if he has just lit it up in my office as I type this.
I recall studying his hands. He was a farmer, and his hands were course, and full of popping veins. I would push those veins in, and they would sponge back. As a child, my grandfather was the only relative I had on whose knee I would sit. No one else could hold me, but he could. I don’t know why.
Maybe it was the gentle, yet firm way he held me, leaving me free to go when I wanted, but safe from falling too far, lest I hurt myself. Maybe it was his quiet way, that we could spend hours walking on the old farm while hardly saying a word. I learned to think from him. He was not what people would have assumed was an intelligent man, but as I look back now, he was a genius, because he was wise. You can have intelligence, give me wisdom any day, for the intelligence I have is useless without someone around to impress with it. But wisdom doesn’t need an ear, or an audience. I like wisdom best.
I miss my grandfather from time to time, and I think of him every so often in memories that seem to be fading. Maybe these ancients remind me of him, as he was ancient when I was a child. Whatever it is, a tear of joy falls now as I remember him, and wonder when I’ll get to visit the residents of the elder care home again.