Monday, December 6, 2010

Ministry of Presence

As some of you who follow my blog know, my grandma went into the hospital the day before Thanksgiving.  She is currently in a rehab center trying to regain strength and mobility.  My kids and I have been going over there - my son bounces in ready to party and my daughter, who was very shy and unsure at first, now feels comfortable and has even befriended my grandma's 99 year old roommate.  She shares her hugs and handmade cards with her as well now.

My kids are learning the ministry of presence.

The Saturday before Thanksgiving, my husband opened up an opportunity for our youth group to go to a retirement center.  Some of the sweet teenage girls sang or played the piano, and we did some music as well.  But my favorite thing that he did was he used different words on little slips of paper to match up a senior and a teenager or leader from our group (peanut butter had to find jelly, etc) and they simply talked. They had five questions to help facilitate and guide the conversation. This ended up going on for over 20 minutes as the older folks just lit up having a listening ear for some stories and memories and favorite things!

Again, I was reminded the value of a ministry of presence.  Sometimes we just need to show up and be there for someone for a few minutes.  

The woman I spoke with teared up several times during our conversation.  She was a new resident, and was also newly separated from her husband who was not well enough to join her and had to live in an assisted living place somewhere else.  They are both living but are now separated after 65 years of marriage.  I can't imagine how that must feel.  She told me that Jimmy and I should aim for 65 years.

Speaking of Jimmy, I loved watching him that day.  He has always had a heart for older people and has several seniors in his life that he regularly communicates with.  He naturally offers a ministry of presence to them. He is patient and compassionate and truly kind.  He daily does so much good behind the scenes, always willing to help wherever is needed.  Much of what he does goes unnoticed and unknown.  He does not crave the spotlight.  I cannot tell you how much I love him for that.  65 years with a good and humble man like this would be a gift.  

I am thankful that I have had these reminders this Thanksgiving and Christmas season.  God, please continue to guide our family to different people who simply need us to be there.  Help us to show up.

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