Blogs by Connie Faust
I'll Keep On Shining!
6/12/2007 6:35:56 AM
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Postscript on the poem by the same name
There was a small group of women from my church who went regularly to visit and have a short devotional message and sing with the residents from Maple Leaf. I was asked to go along and give the message a couple of times. That's when I wrote "I'll Keep On Shining" and shared it as part of the message of encouragement for them. At the time, I'd had no experience with family in nursing homes. That came later.
When it's necessary to place a family member in a nursing home, as we had to do with my Dad, or temporarily in a mental institution as with my Mom, it is heart-wrenching for us who love them.
Mom kept asking to go home; it tore us apart. Thank God, she was able to go home again after a few months.
Pop didn't know where home was. He was a victim of what the doctor called Organic Brain Syndrome, similar to Alzheimer's. He lived with us for a year. Bill took care of the really hard things, like changing his clothes when he had an accident, or getting up with him night after night, then going to work the next day. The final blow was when he kicked the kerosene heater; I had to make the hard decision to put him in Mountain View Manor, the County Home.
The first Sunday after he was admitted, I was so "down" as we attended the morning church service. I can't remember what hymn we were singing, but suddenly through my tears, God let me know that I would be used by Him at the Home.
That was a real comfort.
It was so hard to go see Pop, especially as his disease progressed. But his eyes lit up when he saw me. He seemed to know he was connected to me even when he had no idea who I was. I used to always end our visits by saying in his ear, "Remember, Pop, 'The Lord is my Shepherd.'"
Sometimes he'd respond with a yes; other times it was like talking to a brick wall. Many times I went out to the parking lot and sat crying for awhile in the car before starting it up to go home.
This is getting long, and should have been a story, I guess. Oh, well.
God did use me, and will use anyone with a willing heart, if only to smile, pat a head, hug someone (especially someone who is ugly, smelly, slobbering or totally unappealing). Not that I did that all the time, but the smiles at least were shared freely.
A little bit of caring goes a long way when someone is starved for affection and for their old life.
Stella was my special, special lady, because after a while, she prayed with me and accepted Christ as her Savior. I just have to post a story about it all, but for now, I just want to let you, the reader, know that God will see you through your loved one's confinement. Not only that, but as you lean on Him, He will use you to brighten the lives of the other residents and who knows?--you may even be instrumental in someone finding New Life in Jesus!
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