Wednesday, Fourth Week of Advent: Love
‘And who is my neighbor?’
And the lawyer, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Ervin had just graduated from Concord College, and we were moving to the beautiful little town of Lewisburg, West Virginia where he was to start his first teaching position. We thought we were rich. No more brown beans for a week at a time. No more two-room marriage unit with two little boys ages two and seven months. We were moving into a nice two-bedroom townhouse for only $85.00 a month and a salary of $5,800.00 a year Yep, we were rich!
Little did we know that along with the townhouse came light bills, phone, water, and a whole lot of other bills. Nope, not so rich, I needed to go to work!
A job at the local nursing home worked out well, because it was a third-shift job. That way we didn’t require a babysitter. I passed Ervin coming out the door in the morning as I was coming in. Sleep? Out of the question with two babies and a new dog.
And now for the rest of the story.
Nursing homes were not as nice then as they are now. Laws governing them were very lax in the treatment of the residents. I heard, and saw, many things that would not be tolerated today. As a 21 year old, I had never witnessed anything like this. Many residents had no family, no one to give them personal attention, and they were abandoned and hopeless as they waited for hours, days, and weeks for loved ones that never came. To me, they seemed as though they were invisible to most of the staff. Just objects, not living, breathing human beings with feelings of wanting to be loved, or to love. A real eye opener for this young mother!
They all touched my heart, especially one in particular, a little black lady, Mrs. Godfrey. Mrs. Godfrey wasn’t given any attention other than feeding her meals to her. She was blind, deaf, and could not speak. She was tied with a Posey belt to a chair for most of the day, and then lay in a fetal position for the rest of her long days and nights. This was not a way to treat any of God’s people. She deserved more. Each evening when I came on duty, I would go to see her. When I approached her bed I would tell her who I was and what I was going to do, whether she could hear me or not. I made sure she was covered with her blanket, because she was always cold, especially her feet. I just talked to her. I told her about my two little boys, about Ervin, and anything else on my mind. I told her that God loved her. That she was special to Him and to me. I asked her questions, knowing there would be no answers. I was ridiculed for spending too much time with Mrs. Godfrey, especially since she was black.
When Christmas came around, one of the residents was knitting booties. Ah, just the thing for Mrs. Godfrey’s cold feet! I bought her a pair of green ones and took them to her room. I placed them on her feet and was pulling up the blankets around her when I heard this really deep, low, gravelly voice out of the dark. “Is that you, Brenda Farmer?” My heart stopped. Again, “Is that you, Brenda Farmer?” Did I really hear that? Then my heart raced. Mrs. Godfrey was not deaf, and she could speak! I cannot tell you the emotions that came over me. This beautiful, wonderful lady picked me to speak to after all the years in this place. God had blessed me beyond anything I could ever deserve. Tears flowed, mine and hers, even from the nurses and the rest of the staff. What a magnificent Christmas present!
Mrs. Godfrey’s life changed that night. She wasn’t invisible, anymore.
How many times have we walked past people who needed help and did not see them, as though they were invisible? The children without winter coats, the old man or woman struggling to get across the street, or the young man who walks alone in the streets looking for somewhere to belong. We all get caught up in our own worlds and problems, but Jesus came to earth to teach us the right way, His way. Care for those who are sick and hungry, those who are homeless and downtrodden, build up their hope through you love and belief in our Lord and Savior, Our Blessed Redeemer, Jesus Christ. I Love You., and I thank you for loving me...and your neighbor.
Prayer: Lord, I pray that others may see your love for them through me this holiday season. Allow me to be an example of the adoration and love You show us through your everlasting grace and mercy. Amen.
December 26, 2010