Friday, December 07, 2007

Mafalda and Charlotte

Mafalda and Charlotte, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.

Yesterday, a group of friends and I took a trip to the Sundale Nursing Home in Morgantown to do some Christmas caroling. That's where I met Charlotte and Mafalda. Charlotte is on the left, and Mafalda is on the right with my friend Brittani. About 20 of us converged on the place and spent about an hour singing to residents of the facility. These two ladies were just so full of life during our visit, I had to get my picture with them. i told them it's not often I get to be photographed with a couple of beautiful ladies like them, and they (along with all of the other residents) were just thrilled with our visit!

It was a very emotional evening for me. My mom's last days on this earth were spent in a similar facility connected to a hospital. Some of the folks we sang for were like these two ladies, and some were not very responsive at all, but it was really clear that all of them really appreciated the visit and the music. When we asked if anybody had a favorite Christmas carol, we received the response--"All of Them!" So we sang a few songs in different rooms and in the hallways.

As we started singing the first time, I found tears welling in my eyes because I just thought about how these people seemed to be sequestered away from the rest of the world, and could easily be forgotten. I was supposed to be happy when I was singing these christmas carols, but I kept vacillating between joy and sadness. Joy in singing and sharing with these folks, and sadness thinking about these really special people being forgotten.

So today I'm writing and reflecting on the experience. Multiple people asked us to come back and visit again soon. It was hard saying that we didn't know how possible that would be. While I felt joy in sharing a little light on a dreary winter day, I think I left with sadness.

I thought about my mom a lot. I still miss her. I guess being in this place made me think that these men and women were somebody's moms and dads. I wonder if these people see their family often. I wonder what their days are usually like--mafalda and charlotte said it gets pretty boring and monotonous--I can only imagine.

I guess my heart gets overwhelmed when I think about the needs that this world has, and it makes me long for the day when Jesus will make all things right and all things new. So I guess sadness and joy are understandable responses to a night like yesterday.

Overall, it was an incredible experience, and a good reminder of the very real needs all around us every day to love others.

As Christmas approaches, think about how you might spread a little Christmas joy around your neighborhood. Charlotte asked if she could give me a hug, and when she tried she couldn't lift her arms, so I told her if it was ok I would hug her--I think she really appreciated that. So many lessons God was speaking to me last night, but I only have time for brevity here.

In the end, the question must be asked, how will you demonstrate the love of Christ to the world around you? The need is great, but our God is greater, and he has challenged each of us to be a light. May God enrich your life as you love Him and love others.

1 comment:

BigMama said...

Growing up, my mom was an activities director at a nursing home, so my sisters and I spent most holidays (and plenty of other days) among the elderly. I have very fond memories of a couple of twins -- Jessica Elizabeth and Elizabeth Jessica. These two ladies were so much fun!

Loneliness is so pervasive at this time of year -- way to go for easing this for a few folks!