Monday, February 20, 2006

A Sudden Flash Of Insight

I walked through the doorway of the nursing home completely unnoticed. No one was at the front desk. I passed the nurses station, manned only by what seemed to be a custodian enjoying a game show on television.

I went into William's room and found him in the bed.

"Good morning, William," I told him, introducing myself as if he would have no clue that I was the pastor of his church. Indeed, William had no clue at all who I was. Or who his wife was. Or who he was.

I chatted away about meaningless things -- the birds at his window. The blue sky. The palm tree swaying in the wind. The youth group's trip to Montreat coming up this Summer, and how he used to take the kids each year.

He understood nothing.

As I talked, William talked back to me in mumbling sounds that I could not comprehend.

As I left I told William I wanted to have a prayer. I held his hand and prayed a simple prayer.

When I opened my eyes I saw William looking straight at me with a clear expression. "Thank you, pastor," he told me.

And as suddenly as clarity had come for William, it left just as suddenly.

But in that brief moment, he had a glimpse that God loved him and that the church was with him.

8 Comments:

Blogger ~**Dawn**~ said...

we had moments like that with my grandfather during his long battle with Alzheimer's. flashes of lucidity when you knew your presence there was not futile. that some small corner of his mind was aware & grateful even if most of the time he was unable to express it. it was so hard to suffer through this awful disease with him but those moments refresh your strength. and i am sure it was not blind coincidence that you were there with William during one of these moments.

10:20 AM  
Blogger doodlebugmom said...

A co-worker of mine brings his wife to work everyday. She has Alzheimers. Its a rotten disease. People pretend she is not even there. I hate that. I say good morning to her everyday. And ask her how she is doing. She doesn't answer. But once in a while I get a smile. Or she will come to me if she is scared. She is lucky her husband is able to care for her. Thats what for better or worse is all about.

6:00 PM  
Blogger Questing Parson said...

Not long after the birth of my first granddaughter, my daughter started a practice of taking the baby to a nearby nursing home. She didn't know anyone there, but would walk up to a resident and ask, "Would you like to hold the baby?"

It would be just minutes before several were gathered around cooing over the baby, arguing as to who would hold her next.

The practice continues today. That first granddaughter is now 9; her little sister is 5. They both go. And to so many they are now family. I guess the best way to describe what happens with the severe Alzheimers is that while they do not get outside their fog in many ways they can take the children into their condition. And while the children are there the smiles are beaming.

12:00 AM  
Anonymous Bill said...

John -- Thanks for reminding us all of the "treasure" we hold in "clay jars" -- those times that seem routine to us but that God uses to bless others -- and bless us also.

6:43 AM  
Blogger Classical Presbyterian said...

It is moments like those that keep us visiting and hoping, even as we pray.

"Simple Gifts" indeed....

3:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How beautifully you write, & evidently live. My husband & I often drive 100 miles on the first Sunday of the month, & take a covered dish with us. We attend his parent's church. The first Sunday of every month there is a carry in dinner, & it is such a wondrous time of fellowship, & hospitality, & good food. It is well worth the drive.
Wish you lived closer; would love to take you & your family along with us.
Old PanHandle of Nebraska Folks!

8:31 PM  
Blogger HeyJules said...

Yes, thank you pastor, for sharing that with us. Now excuse me while I go call my parents...

8:14 PM  
Blogger ~Krystyn~ said...

What a great post..it gave me chills. I've worked with a lot of Alzheimer's patients, so I understand. I wish there were more moments of lucidity for my grandpa before he left us.

12:15 PM  

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