I work in a nursing home. I always tell people that I'm not talented in the area of caring for others, but my talent is in caring about those who care about others. I work in our HR department here doing all sorts of things. One of my roles is filling in for our receptionists when they're not available or we have an open position. So, that's what I'm doing tonight.
There's a gentleman who comes in while I'm here to visit his father. His father has always been one of my favorite elders who lives here because he's funny and full of life. Recently, he's taken a turn for the worse and just isn't himself. Sometimes it's very easy for me to process a decline in health. My faith carries me through a lot of things and I know that if someone is ill or dying, then there must be a reason. Some bigger plan with details that I'm just not privy to. Other times, it's very difficult for me for obvious reasons. I rarely question my faith in this area, but understanding that there's a bigger picture and feeling good about it are two entirely different things.
Anyway, back to this gentleman. He comes in to visit a few nights a week. His father, in the last month, has gone from the sweet, talkative, funny gentleman I knew to someone who is consistantly angry, hurtful, and sometimes even violent. I know this is part of his illness and not who he is. I also think I know him well enough to know that if he had control over his behavior, he wouldn't be acting this way. Despite his challenges, his son comes and spends a few hours with him whenever he can. He takes him on walks around the home, even helps him outside so he can enjoy the weather. He hugs him and tells him he loves him throughout the entire visit.
I sometimes catch glances at them or overhear their conversation. The son is never frustrated or rushed. He just listens to his dad talk about whatever might be on his mind - even if his mind isn't based in reality at that exact moment. He is cheerful and hopeful and obviously full of love and respect for his father.
Every time I see them together, I think "That's true love." I see a son who cherishes the time he has with his father. I see a son who would put himself at risk for heartache to spend just another evening with someone he's very close to. I see the man's eyes light up when his son walks in the room, and I'm certain that for even a second, some of his pain and frustration goes away.
I hope that my future children will love me the way that this man loves his father. I pray that I'm half the parent this man was to raise such a loving and respectful son. I fear that I won't be around long enough to develop the kind of relationship that spans decades and endures illness and celebrates life.
But, I trust in God that He will inspire and nourish true love in our family.