Christmas isn't just for kids. Last night we visited Meadow View, bearing gifts of a lantern house for our friend and neighbor Tom, and a little white lantern church for Elizabeth.
Someone had been working very hard in the last week, because the place smelled fresh (er) and was decked out in pretty Christmas trees. When we arrived, we found that Tom's hearing aid was being repaired, so communication had to take place in a flurry of writing on a spiral notebook. Richard and Elliot climbed up on his bed, surrounding him with their love. We soon discovered that Tom's back was very sore, because his room lacked a chair. He spent most of his time sitting upright in his bed with his feet dangling over the side. So, while I went out to request that a chair be brought in, Richard gave Tom a good back rub. Every so often, we saw a smile rise up from the corners of his lips.
After a while, seated in his new comfy chair, a meal that looked like green baby food arrived. He said he didn't want to eat that and we probably wouldn't want to watch. So we left with handshakes and promised to come back soon.
Next, we stopped my the room of our new friend Elizabeth to say Merry Christmas and to set up the little white Church on her nightstand. What a thrill to surprise her! She was so delighted with that paper church....calling us Santa and Angels. She wondered how we ever thought to make such a thing. Then she told us stories of her daughter who is a preacher, and how God has been guiding her path since losing her other daughter and her husband. Even being stuck in a place like Meadowview, she continues to praise God and to be thankful. She smiled nearly the whole time we were there. Remember when I was touched by her claim "just me and God?" Well, looking around her room, I discovered that Elizabeth indeed has a loving family who regularly visits. Her shelves were packed with fresh flowers, her board covered in cards, a wreath hung on her wall, and pictures of her family were crammed in every available space. Of course she would be loved and cherished. So I learned a secret of life, that's really no secret at all...gratitude is a lifestyle, a way of life that we can choose. It's the way I want to be. And after last night, one of my long standing fears melted away. I'm not afraid to grow old.