Sunday, July 22, 2012

Choosing to See

Preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use words.

St. Francis of Assisi

This has been a difficult and painful post to write. I am saddened and appalled by the attitudes that seem to be so prevalent in some parts of the medical community and in society as a whole...and to an extent in myself. In our mad rush to accumulate more things and to ensure that we, ourselves, are not inconvenienced, we've lost sight of the true value of life. We are quick to unburden ourselves of those children and adults among us who are disabled or elderly.

How many times have I run past a man standing on a corner asking for food or money? My easy excuse is that I have to get back to Boo. I don't have the extra money to share...and yet, I could speak. I could take him a cup of coffee or a cold drink. I could certainly pray for him. I could acknowledge that he is as human and as valuable as I am. I seldom do that. Sometimes I don't even notice him standing there. I am so caught up in my own life that I don't look past it to see my brother.

This morning after an upsetting phone call, all my anger and frustration came to a head. I was furious and with good reason. Still, my anger at Boo's diminished value in a “friend's” eyes because of his dementia and my anger that the same “friend” believed that I was wasting my life caring for him when I could be living, did nothing constructive. I didn't even knead a loaf of bread to work off my frustration. I just seethed. Kind of wish I had that bread about now.

I was feeling quite self righteous and morally upright. After all I know that Boo is no less a person now than he was before his strokes. I've carefully considered, and continue to consider, the best course of care for Boo at this time. I've actively tried to ensure that his physical, spiritual, mental and emotional needs are met to the best of my ability. I've made the choices that I truly believe are best for us...and as much as possible I've involved Boo in the decision making process.

And yet...don't I completely miss the mark many times? In my anger and frustration, I speak too quickly and don't consider my words. Instead of patiently explaining the precious value of life, even when that life is marked by handicaps or disabilities, all too often I rant and rave. Instead of allowing myself to be vulnerable and share the joys and sorrows of loving and caring for someone with dementia, I isolate myself. If I truly believe in the sacredness of all life, if I truly believe that we are all created in God's image, how am I living that out? How am I sharing that?

In the coming week, I challenge each of us to look around, really look. Then, look again. Who is on the fringes of our lives that needs to be acknowledged and loved? Who do we routinely overlook? As important as it is to verbalize our belief in the sacredness of life, it's even more important to show it, to put feet to our faith.
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  1. What a wonderful reminder to not forget those around us.

  2. I love how the Spirit speaks to our spirit, so that we learn to see things the way He sees them. May what breaks His Heart always break mine. Thank you so much for linking up! And may the Lord bless your precious service to your beloved. :)

    1. Isn't it wonderful how God speaks to us? I am always amazed and humbled.

    2. Indeed, it is! The God of the universe knows my name and has it engraved in the palm of His hand!! Mind-boggling! :)

  3. I love the quote you started with, saying nothing sometimes is the most powerful thing we can SAY.

  4. Sheltering. Some people are easier to shelter than others. God doesn't tell us to choose -- I love your encouragement to those of the fringes. I accept the challenge!

  5. Wow! Last week, I was in a horrific hurry, with all four kids headed out of town to volunteer at a liturgy camp, when I saw the pregnant woman standing (two lanes over) begging for help at the highway interchange, on a day thatt was preparing to top 100 degrees. It smote my heart, and yet I was late, and I didn't stop, turn around, go to the ATM and get some money for her.

    My daughter has Downs and although no one has ever dared say to my face anything but kind, supportive comments, I'm sure the thoughts have been there. I am waiting for the day when someone comes to this mama bear and makes the comment that lets me say my piece. But then, I get to blog it all, anyway.

    You give me much food for thought.

  6. Off and on, exactly these aspects are dropped into my life. Helping those who are w/o help. I understand the frustration and the difficulty. I'm more of a "crisis" person that a "follow through" one, but I really do try to obey the Lord when He lays someone on my path. Thanks for the reminding.

  7. What a great reminder that we should focus on the important things in life, and of course the most important is people. The tendency is to deny that people and situations exist that make us uncomfortable. Thank you for the reminder.