I had a dream…….


I landed here in this place through no fault of my own, but because my body no longer cooperates with what I want it to do. The only thing is, nobody has told me the rules. There are people who skim in and out briskly. They give me things but they are not my things.

It is morning now and I miss my coffee. My kitchen. I miss having the whole pot if I want it. I am given a plastic cup with coffee but it’s lukewarm. And weak. I have never drank lukewarm in my whole life, and I never drank it from a plastic cup. I can’t heat it so I leave it……but then I think maybe if I don’t drink it now I may not get it again. Grimacing, I drink it down.

I remember the days when I was mobile. I never thought about getting up and walking across the room, I just did it. I try not to be terrified. This feeling of helplessness is new and strange and I feel trapped. Things are in disarray here……plates left on tables, and no one asks me where I want to sit at breakfast they just push me to the table. What’s more, they don’t give us anything to drink with our food. It’s difficult to eat with nothing to wash it down. I ask them, and they bring it but by then my food is no longer hot. I look around and see if everyone looks as bewildered as I feel.

A dish of ice-cream at lunch sits melted. She is sitting too far from the table and she misses her mouth. He is fiddling with his napkin, tearing it into bits like shrapnel it falls to the floor.

Where am I? Where is the place I used to call home?

I miss my dog and cat. I can’t think where they are now, it hurts too much. Tears course down and I wish I had a Kleenex but I use my sleeve. How I would give anything to feel their soft fur under my hand, see the love and loyalty in their eyes. How they would comfort me here.

I told someone I needed to go to the bathroom but that was hours ago. I have been reduced to wearing those adult diapers. The ones I used to see on those awful commercials. I never thought I would have to wear these. They are soaked through. It’s been hours and still they don’t come.

I dread the time I will need a shower. That’s the worst. I try not to think about it much. In my room are things I know. They spark memories, good ones. I surround myself with those now. I say a prayer of thanks for those. They are like pearls on a string and my mind caresses each one. For many here memory draws no comfort. They only have today. In a way, I envy them.

I watch the staff and see their anguished faces. I don’t imagine they make very much money here. I wonder what they go home to. They sit in corners and huddle up in groups peering into their phones. And yet, I find compassion in some of those eyes. They don’t think they will ever have to be in a place like this. And yet in their eyes I see a helplessness also. We are not so different. When it’s all said and done, we are all doing the best we can.

Night is falling and I dream and it’s long ago and my Dad comes and I can walk again. We walk far, past the grounds, through big buildings and streets and I am free again. He is my rescuer again, just like when I was very small.

I awake and I forget where I am. There are shadows in the corners and unfamiliar sounds. Bumps in the night.

I turn over to find my Bible on the nightstand which comes from home and a warmth washes over me. My life lies between the pages and it rushes out to greet me when I open it. I am home. And in my mind flows free with the songs I learned in church so long ago. I am so thankful they have never left me.

I am not alone. My eyes fill with tears at the wealth of this knowledge and my being is flooded with that realization. Joy finds me.

I am not alone. The Holy Spirit whispers and I want to shout it out!

I marvel that it’s possible that I have something to give here. Something to teach them. Something that sorrow and years and weakness can never take away. Someone to introduce them to.

I breathe a prayer. “Make me your instrument, Lord. Even in this place.”

Soon I will be going Home.

A dream I had last night sparked this post, and when I read my Sarah Young devotional today, I was amazed. Here is part of that reading:

Some of the greatest works of my Kingdom have been done from sick beds and prison cells. Instead of resenting the limitations of a weakened body, search for My way in the midst of these very circumstances.

Carehomes: Not for wimps

Lodi lake

Those who spend any time at all in Care homes  come away with a new appreciation for the people who live there and the people who work there. Since Elaine’s Mom was moved into an assisted living facility I accompany her there quite often. I have said in the past that Care homes are the great equalizer. Assisted living care homes are kind of like a glammed up version of the other kind. The kind where people never leave their beds or their chairs.

I have come up with my own names for these places, and you might have come up with your own:  

Roach Motel


Heaven’s Portal

Last stop before death

I don’t mean to make light of a situation that I know first hand is a very tough and in some cases very agonizing decision, but my humor gets me through a lot and I call on it often. Sometimes there is nothing else you can do.

The other day Elaine went to take her Mom’s laundry back. She went up to room 12 but her door was locked. She knocked…..no answer. She went to the neighboring facility but she wasn’t there either. With arms full of stuff, she went back and asked the staff. Then she got the key and unlocked the door. Her Mom had locked herself in. When Elaine asked her why she didn’t come to the door she shrugged. “Tired, I guess.” Was all she said.

Part of the reason may be a lady who tends to follow people around. Joyce always refers to her as a he. Her hair is very short. Martha tends to get in your face. She came up to where Elaine and her Mom were sitting in the common room and proceeded to poke Elaine in the chest where her glasses were hanging. She gets aggressive at times.

Referring to Martha, one of the aides remarked, “You know she’s gay, right?” Elaine remarked, “I don’t care what she is, I just don’t want my glasses broken.” Evidently, one day Martha cornered one of the aids in a room and asked for a kiss. The aide turned her cheek to her, but Martha grabbed her and turned her head and layed one on her full force. Even tried to give her some tongue. EEW! The aide said, “I couldn’t believe how strong she was!”

As they continued to visit, Martha kept coming back. Then she got real close to Joyce and was rubbing her shoulder. Elaine felt her Mom stiffen up. She knew what was coming.

Her Mom has always had a problem with touching of any kind.  That’s a psychological study all on its own. She has always frowned on any public (or private for that matter) display of affection. “Why is he doing that?” She said to Elaine and then as she grabbed Martha’s hand in a vise grip, she said. “If you don’t stop, I will knock you across the room.”

The manager was sitting across the room and had to stifle her laughter behind the paperwork she was unsuccessfully trying to finish.

Then there is Jim. We met the first time when he backed us into his room after we remarked about his pictures. He blocked the doorway with his wheelchair and proceeded to tell us how he could still do all kinds of stuff. He proceeded to stand up as he said, “Even sex.” Needless to say, we backed out of the room as soon as we could. The staff said that Jim gets hostile as well. He also threatened the cook and called him, let’s just say the worst thing you could call a black person.

His son left him there and hasn’t been back since. From what I have seen, I have learned to withhold my judgement when I hear stories like that. There is grief and heartache all the way around a situation like that.

I heard one little old lady named Lucy say one day, “Jesus is not in here.” But I don’t totally agree with Lucy. There are saints there. People who do the jobs no one else wants to do, for very little money.

And we have met people there that we have fallen in love with. Despite where they are, they have brought the Light in with them. One of them is Ardis. Ardis used to work in theater and she has a big wave for us and a smile whenever we see her. She always looks sharp and her hair is always stylish. Ardis had a stroke and her words tumble out all scattered and out-of-order. But sometimes she says a perfect sentence, and then beams.

Sometimes you can get the gist of what she means, and sometimes it’s like playing charades. But she always laughs along with us. Lately she hasn’t felt well, and we are worried.

Then there is John. He is a sweet-heart. Both Ardis and John have family who come in all the time.

Whenever I go there, I am always a bit uneasy. I sense the Grim-Reaper in the halls. I sense the hopelessness that Satan brings wherever he goes, sometimes his foul breath curdles the air. Sometimes he needles me with fear.

He taunts me. 

This is your future home……..Strangers to eat with, strangers to sit with………having to trust someone you don’t know…..this is your future.

But I know different. I remember the ones like Ardis, and Jim. How they carry their hope with them, and though their bodies are failing, their spirits are full of life, of love. They have made the decision to trust in something bigger than themselves.

When we visited Ardis, she said….”I…..ready……

And she looked toward Heaven.

She is. She knows who holds her future. And so do I.

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Answers from the Psalms