29 October 2008
I volunteer at a nursing home once a week. Most people tell me they think that would be depressing but its not. As a society, we would like to ignore the infirm, the elderly, the unborn. We miss out on so much when we do this...but I digress. I once entered a room where the occupant had just passed away. It didn't bother me to be in there with the body talking with his family because I knew he was no longer there. Today I went with a priest to give a friend the annointing of the sick, a.k.a., "last rites." I'm a convert so I have never witnessed this before. What a beautiful thing to see the comfort words can bring. My friend has no legs and hardly no mobility and, yet, such a profound grace radiated around him as he mouthed the Lord's Prayer. I never knew Jack when he had a good "quality of life" and, yet, he brings joy and laughter wherever he goes. To watch him lying in that bed, knowing his final days are here, there was so much humility, so much trust in his God and, yet, so much dignity. So many people say, "I would rather be dead than stuck in a nursing home unable to care for myself." If Jack had felt that way I would have never known him...and I'm proud to know him.