Lying in her bed, staring at the same four walls that have been “home” for as long as she can remember, she silently weeps. There are questions: Why am I here? How did it come to this? Where are my loved ones? Once lively and vivacious, independent and industrious, she is now consigned to a stale vacuum very nearly void of human contact, with the exception of that occasional, beleaguered aide that rushes in to put out a fire as quickly as possible and move swiftly to the next crisis.
It is a sad state of affairs when those to whom we owe such great appreciation and debt for their sacrifices and support are left alone. Most of us have been blessed to have been spared that overwhelming emotion; we have never really been alone. There has always been someone who saved us from oblivion with a phone call, a letter or some seemingly casual visit that has refreshed and renewed. But, it must be a most unpleasant feeling to be forgotten.
We are not guilty of this egregious error, of course, this abandonment of the “shut-in.” We would never leave our loved ones to languish, untouched by social interaction. However, there are so many who cry out for contact and long for even the shortest moment of time to remind them that they still matter, that they are more than just a burden of human flesh. Most have been self-sufficient all of their lives only to find in their golden years to be seemingly void of value.
The Bible teaches us that “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble…” (James 5:27a). Caring for those who are helpless is not sideline of Christianity; it is foundational. We have some of the best institutions in the world for senior care but that is predominately a caring for the body. We should care for the soul. And, with such little effort, a short “hello” can brighten someone’s entire day. So much of Christianity requires so little, yet is so rarely given. Who did you “visit” today?