Friday, January 25, 2008

One More Day

I received a double dose of good news about elderly parishioners during the past few days. A 98-year-old fell before Christmas and spent time in hospital. She couldn't return to the residential side of the home for the elderly where she lives and the nursing side was full. So when she was able to leave hospital she had to go to another facility, which seems so unfair for someone at her stage of life. Happily for her (not for the person who went to his or her reward) a bed came open at her former home and she will be back in familiar surroundings. This cheered me greatly. Old age is a tough gig in many respects and happy endings are few and far between.

I also discovered that a 93-year-old who was at death's door before Christmas is out of hospital and in a nice private nursing home. I went to see her in hospital on Christmas morning thinking that she was on her way out. I knew there was a chance for recovery when she greeted me and then pointed out that if she didn't eat her waffles they would get cold. Humility is an important aspect of the life of a minister. Waffle...? Chat with the minister...? No contest.

I tracked her down in her new home yesterday and we had a great visit. She was full of vim, vigour, and humour. She entertained me with a story from when she was young (80.) She received a notice from the government informing her that she had died. Since she knew otherwise, she visited the appropriate office and argued with a young woman who insisted she must be dead because it said so on the computer screen. I laughed out loud.

I have been doing ministry long enough to know that either or both of these women could fall asleep tonight and not wake up tomorrow. It is the reality of old age. Both of them have told me they are ready to go. But thank God they are able to enjoy some more of this precious life.


Nancy said...

As we get older we realized more and more how precious this life is. We heard of a 51 year old who died this past week leaving behind an 11 year old son, our nephew's best friend. As our nephews struggle with this loss of a neighbour and friend, they also are carrying on with their lives, writing exams, playing hockey and getting that coveted driver's licence - all while trying to support their neighbour. It is hoped that they are learning how precious life is through these experiences.

David Mundy said...

Thanks Nancy,

In the past few weeks I have I talked with several people who were grappling with the stunning news of early deaths, including a relatively young father who took his own life.

You're right -- we need to value our days in the midst of the demands of the moment.