The Simple Lesson I Learned from Visiting My Mother's Nursing Home
- Linda Evans Shepherd Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2016 1 Mar
I stepped out of my busy life to jet across the country. I was on my way to see my mom as she recovered in a nursing home from a recent fall.
When I walked up to the nursing home’s double doors, a security guard buzzed me into a time zone not quite identifiable as “standard”; most of the residents were lost in decades of memories.
When I arrived in Mom’s room, her eyes lit up. “Linda!”
I leaned in for a hug, noticing the simplicity surrounding us, a necessity because of the home’s problem with patients wandering into the wrong room before misplacing the items they discover there.
Just outside our room an old woman shouted at the top of her lungs, “Yi! Yi! Yi! Yi! Yi!” Another resident, a former entertainer, wailed unidentifiable show tunes as she beat time on the wall to music only she could hear.
I kept my arms around my mother’s neck. “How are they treating you here?”
That conversation marked the beginning of a five-day visit of sitting with my mom from morning till night.
But every morning, when I’d return to walk through the double doors, I felt the slam of the time warp. Even my watch protested, dropping an hour and a half from its 24 hour rotation.
One morning, as I sat with my mom at breakfast, an elderly man in a wheelchair rolled up to a nearby table where he beat his fists in time to his chant, “I want scrambled eggs, I want scrambled eggs!”
He only stopped when this requested plate appeared before him. Then he mumbled a flurry of four-letter words as he shoveled the eggs into his mouth.
The little ladies at my table all shook their heads. One of the women leaned in to explain, “I don’t live here. I’m waiting for the bus to Memphis.”
“I see,” I said.
She pushed her wheelchair closer to the table. “Don’t get in my way when it comes, I’ll run you down.”
Oh my goodness. I had entered a heartbreaking wrinkle in time.
That night, as I walked toward the double doors, I listened to the cry that seemed to drift from almost every room, “Help me! Please! Help me!”
I peeked into the rooms as I passed. All the criers were safe, though desperate to find deliverance from their nightly confusions.
Could God’s peace be in a place like this?
I found it the next morning when my mother and I were seated at our breakfast table. That’s when I announced, “Time to say grace.”
I bowed my head and prayed, “Dear Lord, please bless our food and bless all the dear residents here. Please also help those who are here to care for them. We honor you, Lord. Thank you for all of your blessings.”
When I lifted my eyes I saw something odd. All conversations had ceased. All heads had bowed. Even harried workers had stopped in their tracks to honor God.
“Amen!” the little lady from Memphis said. Aides and nurses smiled. Gray heads nodded as peace walked into the room.
And then I knew. I may have entered a time warp, but God was in it with us. It only took the power of a simple prayer to remind us of his eternal presence, a presence not bound by time or place, but a presence available every moment to every soul, even those lost in time itself.
If a simple prayer can bring peace to a wrinkle in time, think what prayer could do to bring peace to your complications.
Dear Lord, we honor you. You are welcome into our lives and complications. Thank you for all your blessings. In Jesus’s name.
Linda Evans Shepherd is the author of 30 books, including her latest, Called to Pray from Baker Revell. See www.GotToPray.com. Article reprinted with permission from www.LeadingHearts.com magazine, an e-magazine for women who lead at home, work, church and community.
Publication date: March 1, 2016