Saturday, March 27, 2010

Opening the Door

I can't get a visit I made last week out of my head. I stopped at a Courtice nursing home on my way home from a meeting in Oshawa to see a nice old guy who I visit two or three times a year.

Approaching ninety he is friendly and affable and always glad that I show up. But we don't have a whole lot to talk about. He is quite content where he lives and has convinced the administration to let him have a tiny garden just outside his window. Once we get past "tomato talk" and the state of his ticker we really don't have much to say. While many visits with others are an hour or more in duration, with him it tends to be twenty minutes, a prayer, and out the door.

This time was different. After I prayed and I was ready to make my exit he told me that the coming Saturday was the anniversary of his wife's death. I realized that he was emotional as he shared this with me, and I was surprised, only because he is unrelentingly upbeat, always smiling and chuckling. That is not him above (stock photo) but it could be in terms of the cheerfullness. But we were in new territory here.

It turns out that this was the twenty-fifth anniversary of her death. They married, each for the first time, in their forties and were together only nineteen years. It struck me though, that she was the love of his life and he still felt the loss deeply after a quarter of a century.

So, I am glad I stopped in, even though I figured it was going to be "same old, same old." I would like to think that God wanted me there in that moment. He has no surviving family and has outlived most friends. It seemed to be the prayer that opened the door to deeper sharing, and it was important that our discussion happened. At least that's how I see it.


IanD said...

It's nice to be in your position, David, where you know people feel comfortable telling you those kinds of things.

Teachers are often recipients of the same trust, albeit from a different 'clientele.' Though those moments can sometimes be hard, it says a great deal about how much people need people (even in the digital age.)

Deborah Laforet said...

And maybe especially in the digital age.

lionlamb said...

In the end it is important to be present to others, whatever our profession, or lack thereof. As Deb says, especially in the digital age.