Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Jessie's Observations

This morning was an interesting morning...I got to become a "fly on the wall," so to speak, in a medical lab for 3 hours. So many different types of people coming and going - it was a real study of human nature. So many personalities, some rather repulsive I'm ashamed to say, others pleasant, and still others weren't even memorable - just ordinary...you know?

I overheard so many life issues...the cheerful, welcoming receptionist was on the phone a few times in between checking in the patients - she was securing the details for her father's final days here on earth. He was being placed on Hospice care with very little time remaining. She had such joy for everyone who came in contact with her and only if you had overheard her conversations on the phone would you have known the very heavy burden she must have been carrying. It was so impressive and so humbling to see her attitude. It made you wonder if she was a believer...how else could she be so "ok" with the task before her concerning her father as well as be so caring to the people - the total strangers around her?

There was the man who came in and immediately recognized an older lady seated near me as the long time best friend of his mother...his mother is suffering from Alzheimer's, the sweet lady in the waiting room asked him how his mother was doing and apologized for not checking in on her friend more often - it was only a few minutes later that I learned that she too was caring for her husband who was stricken with the very same disease. When the older lady was called back for her lab work the man started telling me such intimate, personal information about his mom and the fight she has had with this disease over the past 8 years. The only name she remembers at this point is that of her husband - Jack - her son goes on to tell me that his mom calls almost every family member Jack - she can't remember the rest of the family names, but she recognizes they are part of her family so she labels them Jack - but she also knows that Jack is the name of her husband of over 50 years - because when he is not in the room she is asking "Where's Jack?" He also said this lady that he had been speaking to is so much smaller and physically weaker than the spouse she is caring for on her own, with the help of neighbors. He is amazed that she is able to do it, and doesn't see how she could possibly continue. His own father is such a big strong man, so much more physically and mentally capable to deal with the issues of Alzheimer's - how in the world is this sweet woman able to do what she does he asks me...he answers his own question when he goes on to say that to witness such love and pure devotion to a person is quite something to witness. It reminded me of Clifton and Frances - my surrogate grandparents growing up...how Frances faithfully cared for her ailing husband - giving her all, to the point that she unexpectedly passed on first - worn out from all that she gave. What faithfulness...a foreign concept in our society today. I don't know how many older couples came in for test today clearly taking care of each other. Sometimes is was comical, but every time it was so sweet to see. Where else in our society do you see that kind of loyalty? We can learn from the older generations in so many ways.

It takes a morning like this morning, when you are stuck in a situation when the only thing to do to pass the time is to observe the people around you...it takes a morning like this morning to really see that small glimpse of what God intended for us to be - we are made in His image, Genesis tells us so - it's amazing that we can still reflect His image even with the selfishness and mess of today. It made me leave wondering am I reflecting? Sure I may reflect on a Sunday morning when I am around other believers, but am I reflecting His image to the strangers that I encounter in the drs office, or Wal-Mart, or at home with my kids...(ouch, that one hurt). Makes ya wonder.

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