"Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." James 1:22 (NKJV)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Week 1: Caring for Widows, Part 2

My eyesight isn't very good, so I have a "large print" Bible. And, I don't like those flimsy thin pages that some Bibles have. I like nice thick paper that you can write on, and I like wide margins. So, my Bible is not one of those cute little stylish Bibles. It's a big black leather bound Bible that you can't mistake for anything else. It's the kind of Bible that if you walk down the street with it in your hand, people get out of your way. On the other hand, I discovered this evening that when you walk into the cafeteria at a nursing home with such a Bible in your hand many of the old folks will assume you're a pastor and will want to talk with you and will ask you to pray for them.

On my way to the home from work this evening, I was thinking about my visit with Grandma. I knew that she wouldn't recognize me. I didn't know what I could say, so I decided to bring my Bible. If conversation is impossible, I thought, maybe I can just read her some scripture.

Grandma was in the cafeteria for dinner. I sat next to her. She said that I reminded her of someone. I told her that I was her grandson, Nathan. That fact never really registered with her. We did talk some about Grandpa, her kids, and places she lived probably fifty years ago. I think she finally decided that I was an old neighbor, which is actually true. She lived next door to my parents for a few years. She seemed happy to have a visitor, even if she never figured out who I was. I finally read her Romans 8, prayed for her, and gave her a hug and a kiss.

While I was there, I chatted with several other old ladies who shared Grandma's table. Like I said, they all assumed at first that I was some sort of pastor. Surprisingly, they weren't too disappointed when I told them I'm a lawyer. The older generation must have a higher opinion of lawyers.

Betty, who sat across the table from Grandma, was my favorite. Betty misses her husband. She's looking forward to dying and seeing him again in heaven, because he was a believer like her. "Is it wrong to look forward to dying?," she asks. She has a Bible verse in mind, but can't find it. It's something about if you believe you will never die. We figure out that it's John 11:25-26a:

I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.

Betty's dad and her husband were both professors at the University of Illinois. Many summers ago, Betty and her daughter rode bicycles from Oregon all the way back to Illinois. They camped along the way. When I left, I promised Grandma and Betty and the others that I would be back for dinner next Monday.


  1. Awesome, Nathan. Did you go back this week? The elderly are such an overlooked part of our society. This is a great eye-opener/reminder for me. My grandparents are getting to the "difficult" stage of aging, where they aren't really the people I remember them being. Even over the holidays we kind of overlooked them in our travels because of the hard changes that they're going through. I'm convicted that that was wrong now. Think I'll give my Grandma a call today.

  2. Thanks, Casey, for reading and for the kind comment. It means a lot to me. I did go back to visit Grandma this last Monday. I'm committed to visiting her every Monday evening. I'm also getting to know some of the other ladies at the home. I'm so glad that God's conviction always comes with His grace and mercy. I hope you give Grandma a call. Blessings to you and your family. We love you guys!