While stopped for the light, I saw the older gentleman make his way along the sidewalk. He crossed the driveway leading into the gas station and slowly continued pushing his walker while his little dog led the way.
His slow movements caught my attention and caused my thoughts to wander. What would it be like to have to move that slowly to get anywhere? And where was he going? Surely it would take him forever to complete his trip. I wonder what he did before he retired? Was he in education or law enforcement? Maybe he worked in the factory or sold insurance. Often when I meet the elderly, my mind runs to their past, when, like me, they were focused on work and family, trying to do all of the very important things young people have to do. Then against that backdrop, I think how, just maybe, it is nice to have the patience to plug along, walking your dog, making small trips throughout your neighborhood. Maybe there is a great deal of peace and contentment in that stage of life as well.
Of course, it doesn’t matter where we are in life, our life–indeed our very self–has great value. That is something that is often missed today.
I heard the popular Fr. Corapi tell a story on television the other day. He said that when his grandmother got old and had to go into a nursing home, the caregivers reported that she always had her rosary with her. Her fingers were constantly running along her beads. He witnessed it himself, as well. His point was that even though his grandmother was not physically well, she could still do much on this earth to draw people to Christ.
He also spoke of a seminarian he knew that had been diagnosed with a terminal illness. When he went to visit his friend–with whom he had shared many deep discussions about redemptive suffering–he knelt down at his bedside to pray with him. His friend called him close and mouthed to him, “You cannot believe the joy.”
In that Fr. Corapi recognized that his friend had come to relate his suffering to the passion of Jesus and that within that suffering he could find peace.
So, whether you are young and active, slowly moving along in life, or facing the end, your dignity comes from a source far beyond your earthly existence and extends out to the far reaches of heaven.
May God grant you joy and peace, wherever you are this day.
Copyright 2011 Janet Cassidy