Isaiah 40:6 “A voice says, ‘Call out!’ And then he answered, ‘What shall I call out?’ All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.”
“All flesh is grass….”
Back in June I started working at an “Adult Day Program”. It’s a place where seniors, who still live on their own or with family members, can come for life enrichment activities (cognitive stimulation, exercise, and socialization are just a few of the things we offer). I work as a Program Assistant, not only do I help make sure that the planned program flows well, but, I also act as a friend, a confidant, and hopefully “a breath of fresh air” for the seniors that I hang out with every day.
Our guests are typically in the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s. It is a challenge to meet someone when they are at this stage because it feels like you are not really meeting them, but meeting their disease. We engage with their personality in its rawest form; they start saying things that they never would have dreamed of saying out loud, they start to see things that are not there, and they often cannot remember what the last activity was.
They say that Alzheimer’s causes the mind to start reverting back to childhood. You never know when you start talking to someone if they are going to be in the present or in the past, if they are going to be strong or frail, or if they are going to understand you or if you are confusing them. We meet people where they are – our hope and goal is that we might be able to extend this part of their life and to make this time the best it can possibly be. But we know that their flesh – that our flesh – is like grass and no matter how much we help to prolong their life, it is still “too short”.
“….and all its beauty is like the flowers of the field.”
Something that I do daily is remind people where they are. I remind them what they are doing, where they are going next, and where the bathroom is. A little part of me cringes every time I see someone walk into the bathroom. Why? Mirrors. Mirrors can be cruel and wicked things. Even in my own home, I often use mirrors to find faults with myself. “Am I having a bad hair day?… Why am I still getting pimples at the age of twenty-five?… My goodness, is my butt really that big?”
Not too long ago I was walking a sweet, cheerful lady towards the bathroom after lunch. I opened the door for her and she walked in and before I could close it, I saw her catch a glimpse of herself in the mirror. But for a woman, a glimpse is never enough. What is it about mirrors that draws us in? She stood there, staring at her own reflection and after a quiet moment, she softly sputtered out the words “is… that… me?” She brought a shaky hand up to her cheek and rubbed the old wrinkled skin. She softly ran fingers through her thinning white hair. I identified with her so much in that moment that I could barely stand it. She paused, and then turned to look me straight in the face. And with tears in her eyes she assured me (and re-assured herself) “I never used to be like this.” And it was all I could do to keep my own tears from brimming over. “I know, my dear… I know,” were the delicate words that escaped my lips in some faint attempt to comfort her, even though my heart knew that little comfort could be found.
“A voice says ‘Cry!’ And I said, ‘What shall I cry?’ “
I have the rare privilege to be face-to-face every day with the inescapable effects of time; the continual reminder that old age will come, and how will I deal with it? How will I prepare for it right now? You can tell a lot about a person’s past by how they act once they are old. Will my wrinkles be laugh-lines or deep boroughs in my forehead from frowning all the time? Will I be the woman who is crabby about being old or will I be the one who ages gracefully? Will I be scared to leave this earth or will I embrace it with the knowledge that I will soon be seeing my Savior?
1. Life is indeed short. May we be encouraged, to make the most of today, while living in light of eternity. Click on the video below for a fantastic clip to illustrate this point (a special thanks to Carrie for introducing me to it):
2. Because of sin this world is full of disease and death. BUT, God has made a way to restore all of it to Himself, for His glory. What was your response to the video? Read Revelation 1. Do you know Him, who hold the keys? The First and the Last. Oh, it is my prayer that you do. What you do with Jesus is an eternal decision. Life is too short, too fragile, to arrogantly think we have “more time” to decide about Jesus. He. loves. you. Creation is shouting it, His Word is oozing it, His Spirit is pursuing you. Will you turn now?
3. Memorize Isaiah 40:6