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Posts Tagged ‘elderly’

Blue eyes sparkling, he moved his right arm into an upright “L”, bent his wrist, and then touched his four fingers to his thumb.  He turned his hand toward his face, opened and closed the fingers, and without speaking pretended to have a conversation with this creative goose he had made.  The shy child smiled.

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon, and Nursing Home Courtyard was filled with families enjoying the sun, visiting loved ones who were residents or Rehab patients. The entertainer continued his show for a few more minutes, until the child’s attention was drawn elsewhere.  Watching the child return to her mother, the entertainer’s eyes continued to sparkle and he smiled as he rolled his wheelchair across the courtyard toward another resident, sitting alone. His antics continued with her, until she dozed off.

He turned his chair around, and then wheeled over to a woman sitting next to her sleeping mother. The daughter was holding tight onto a tissue, which she used to dab her eyes every now and then. The entertainer’s eyes softened, and he gently took a pen from his pocket. Without speaking, he caught the daughter’s attention. Using a wide-eyed expression and his mouth in an “O”, he held the pen upright between two fingers, and moved it to make it look like it was rubber. The daughter smiled, and thanked him. He smiled back, turned his chair around, and headed toward another corner of the yard.

A gentle face of God in the Ordinary: an elderly resident with no visitors of his own, unable to speak, had communicated volumes about the love of God to the lonely and afraid.

Diane L. Neuls DeBlasio 2011

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This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. John 15:12

It was Christmastime in New York City. The kids and I were playing tourist during Christmas break.

 

We had taken the express train into New York. Every car on the train was packed with Long Island tourists like ourselves this Christmas week. The day was unseasonably warm, which probably added to the number of people heading into the city. We settled into a seat, open the fold-out map, and planned our day.

 

When we reached Penn Station, we walked upstairs and outside into the crowds on the sidewalk. It was noisy: vendors called attention to their wares spread out on tables along the sidewalk: watches, scarves, and pocket books. Taxi horns, calls of the tour guides, loud chatter of people as they moved along, bicycle bells, roar of the busses and cars as they moved down the road bombarded us. Smells of the pretzels and roasted nuts from the sidewalk vendors floated in the air.

 

Our plan was to walk up Fifth Avenue to RockefellerCenter, to see the tree. It seemed like this was everyone else’s destination, too. We joined the herd of people heading up Fifth Avenue. “Packed like sardines” doesn’t even begin to describe the crowds as we moved along.

 

After a few blocks, the crowd slowed down to a crawl. Something was blocking the sidewalk ahead. The kids and I couldn’t see what was causing the slowdown; packed in, we could only move along with the crowd. The crowd started to get cranky: kids whined, people grumbled and started jostling each other on the walkway. Because of the Christmas crowds and the traffic on the street next to us, the only place to go was to continue on the sidewalk, inching along.

 

As we moved up the street, we could see that the people up ahead seemed to move around something on the sidewalk, then continue on a bit faster.  What could be causing this pedestrian traffic jam?

 

We got closer, and saw the reason for the jam up: an elderly couple was moving very slowly along on the sidewalk. Maybe they were married, maybe they were siblings or just friends. If I had to guess their ages, I’d say they were in their mid-to-late 90s. In spite of the warm weather, each was dressed in a heavy overcoat. They were both petite, frail looking, but with an amazing inner strength. The gentleman was bent over a walker, shuffling along. The lady was next to him, holding his arm for support, as she slowly shuffled along with him. Their package from the grocery store was hooked around the walker. Both were intently fixed on the sidewalk, determined, careful of where they were stepping, focusing on moving ahead.

 

In their own way, each one was supporting the other as they walked. Well, shuffled.

 

As they passed the couple on the sidewalk, the change in the crowd was remarkable. The people passing stopped talking, gave the couple a gentle smile, and walked around them, giving them plenty of room on the sidewalk. As the crowd reformed in front of the couple, the mood had changed: people had more patience, and they were friendlier to those around them. People who just a few moments before were very grouchy, were now smiling, greeting strangers with a “Hello” and a “Merry Christmas” while waiting for the light to change at the next cross walk.

 

I saw God that day in the elderly couple on Fifth Avenue. In their simple daily activity, The Lord used that couple to show that we are to love and care for each other, support one another, as we move along in life. Always.

© Diane L. Neuls DeBlasio, Seeing God In The Ordinary 2011

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