Old age, for all of us, is a new phase in our lives that should be honored. In the beginning of our lives we started out as babes in the arms of our mother. We were fed, pampered, and swaddled in warm clothes. As we grew older, our parents directed us, shared wisdom, and shined guidance onto our lives. Then we, like our parents, left home, found careers, and some of us made families of our own. Now, with the nest of youth long faded, and children gone, comes a time when our parents need us to help prepare them for the transition into a new stage of life.
|Photo Credit: Xavi Talleda|
Old age is like a second childhood for our parents. Just as we care for our children, the same attention, needs, and advice are required by parents. We have learned the sacrifices made to give our children the essentials of life, as our parents did for us. Many of our parents find themselves floundering and fluttering through this new transition in their lives. They struggle. As their children, we are called by love, by duty, and by respect to help care for those who held us up when we stumbled in early years of our life.
Like us, our parents call on us to fulfill their emotional, spiritual, physical, and financial needs. Regardless of the circumstances, we bring a blessing to our parent’s lives. If they need help around the old homestead, yard work, or meals delivered, we should oblige them. Sometimes caring simply means making a phone call and paying your parents a visit on a quiet afternoon.
Then, there may come a time, when one or both of our parents are no longer able to live alone. Our parents opened the door of their home and their heart the day they brought us home. So why now should we not open the door them?
The bible tells us, “The church should care for any widow who has no one else to care for her. But if she has children or grandchildren, their first responsibility is to show godliness at home and repay their parents by taking care of them. This is something that pleases God very much….But those who won’t care for their own relatives, especially those living in the same household, have denied what we believe. Such people are worse than unbelievers” (1 Timothy 5:3-4, 8).
Unfortunately, caring for our parents is no longer an obligation many of us are willing to accept. Instead we see our parents as a type of burden. When we should be taking them into our homes, we put them in retirement communities or nursing homes. We leave them lonely and basking in the memories having loved ones close at hand.
Recent studies show that elderly family members placed in nursing homes with no frequent visitation or connection with family members grew depressed, withdrawn, and pass away sooner than those whose family members take an active role in their care and attributing to their needs.
Your parents need love, attention, and care, just as you did when you were a babe, when you fell and cut your knee and your mother bandaged it, when you came home with that first good grade or trophy and your father patted you on the back. Now, those memories are being re-lived by the people who helped make them happen, because that’s all you left them with in the nursing home. That, and a few pictures by their bedside.
When we care for our parents, we bring honor and blessings to their lives. Throughout our lives there will be transitions. We grew from infancy to adulthood. We bring into this world new life, and thus take on new responsibilities. We begin life in the arms of our mothers, and we finish in the arms of our children.
What other way could be more perfect than God’s way?