I can't believe I haven't written for so long; and yet, I have a notebook full of scribblings for the past two months.
I just got back from visiting my 87-year-old dad and 90-year-old stepmother in St. George, Utah. They will be married six years in September. One of my favorite parts of my visit was swimming laps in the pool at the subdivision where my dad lives. I was always alone in the pool and it was fantastical. smiling. I think I should have been a swimmer. I'm a good swimmer. I love how it feels, how it sounds, how it relaxes me to float on my back when I'm done swimming. When I used to work as a lifeguard the owner would sometimes let us swim after hours and I would float on my back and look up at the stars. It was a hot springs out in the middle of nowhere; or, Haines, Oregon, if you know where nowhere is.
It was interesting to go with my dad and Ettie to the assisted living center where they have just been assigned to help on Sundays. I looked around at the 15 or so elderly people and thought about all of the incredible life experience in that room. I wonder what those people's lives had been like and what kind of wisdom they could impart.
What does it mean to grow old - living beyond what people did in the past? Will we care for people with dignity and respect? Consider what it means to age and live beyond...
I couldn't help but see that the better-abled old were caring for the less-abled old. Why do people age differently? Why is one healthier than another?
I couldn't help but wonder what my life would be like. How long will I live and how will I live?
I looked around the room and wondered about people's past lives. Each had a
lifetime of prayer
of trusting God?
of challenges and
wonderings of how God works.
A lifetime of relationships
all kinds of experiences
and many, many different choices.
*How have they come to understand how the Holy Ghost works in their lives?
*How have they come to recognize and feel the power of God in their lives?
I thought about talking to each of them but communication is a bit of a challenge, and I'm not sure how cognizant all of them were. It still doesn't take away from their life's mission and experience.
What do they think about?
How do they feel?
What is their purpose in their infirmity?
How do they see their past life and present situation?
I asked dad and Ettie the two starred* questions above. It was interesting to think about how they related experiences at different points in their lives, and I thought about how we might give up on God when He is waiting to speak to us when we are 65, 78, or even older. Something to consider...
There were three dining tables and each one had a quote in a plastic frame sitting in the center. I wrote down one of the quotes from Joseph F. Smith.
"The test, then of our soul's greatness is rather to be sought in our ability to comfort and console, our ability to help others, rather than our ability to help ourselves and crowd others down in the struggle of life."
And, there you go.