Breathe deep the gathering gloom
Watch lights fade from every room.
Bedsitter people look back and lament,
Another day’s useless energy spent.
Cold hearted orb that rules the night,
Removes the colors from our sight.
Red is grey and yellow white;
but we decide which is right,
And which is an illusion?
~ Graeme Edge, Moody Blues, Days of Future Passed
Night, peaceful night.
Peaceful, at least, for some of us…
What do you feel when you find yourself in a still and silent place? Do you feel panic, anxiety, peace or joy?
I crave stillness. Life is so hectic. I yearn for those quiet moments when I don’t have to do or be anything. It is a human foible to constantly crave that which eludes us.
Here’s a little perspective:
Imagine for a moment being on end-of-life care or severely immobilized. You’re stuck in a wheelchair or confined to a hospital bed. You have no driver’s license. You don’t have the physical capability to get anywhere on your own.
You feel like a caged bird.
A world that used to brim with possibility is suddenly beyond reach. You can’t strike out on a new adventure unless someone is willing to take you along. You feel Stuck. Alone. Helpless.
Welcome to the life of the shut-in.
In the twilight of life, it is common to struggle to find purpose for those remaining days. People who are confined due to age or illness long for a kind word or a friendly visit. They feel forgotten, isolated. Some grow bitter in their loneliness. Others have physical ailments that cause embarrassment or discomfort. Sometimes, they aren’t elderly. Relatively young men and women struck with cancer or like illness may find themselves in a hospital bed, drawing closer to death far sooner than they’d expected.
Do we just cast them aside and pretend they don’t exist? Are they less deserving of our compassion than the vibrant, healthy and young? On the contrary, they are in desperate need of compassion and encouragement before they meet the Maker.
An example of compassion and purpose
Even though my mother worked full-time, she tried to find ways to visit the elderly ladies from church who were in the hospital or shut-in. During my junior year of high school, we gave a plate of cookies to an elderly couple at church that we didn’t know very well.
We all became fast friends.
A short time later, the man passed on leaving behind his wife. Their children lived elsewhere. She was all alone. Without her husband, she was unable to drive. Nearly every Friday afternoon, my mother would take Mary while she made deliveries for work so that they could visit with each other and pick up some groceries. It was an edifying experience for all of us. I observed that one could grow old and still have joy. One could be shut-in and still find purpose. Helping others could be helpful to you. Mary was a talented lady and she would knit and crochet blankets, sweaters and stuffed animals for new moms and needy folks. She made several of our baby blankets and I still have them today. Mary was a beautiful example of growing old with grace.
It all started with a plate of cookies and ended with a beautiful friendship.
Praying for the shut-ins.
This week’s prayer requires you to reach out a little. If you are an introvert like me, this may be a difficult task. People are unpredictable and it can be a bit daunting. Remember, God does not call us to do only that which is easy or comfortable; He calls us to be compassionate regardless of circumstances.
If you have a similar personality to mine, I recommend starting out slowly. Begin by sending a card in the mail. Next, find someone who has experience ministering to the elderly and ask to accompany them when the visit people.
Here is a list of specific requests for the shut-ins:
- Pray that they will seek the Lord until the end. I have observed the effects of debilitating disease and injuries. It either fosters a closer with God or triggers bitterness toward God. Pray that their eyes will be open to the Lord and that they won’t reject Him in their pain, loneliness and fear.
- Ask the Lord to send them friendship. (This could be you!)
- Pray that they will be comforted by the Lord’s presence.
- Pray for those caring for them—both family and health professionals. Pray for those who are making decisions for this individual; pray that decisions will not be motivated by convenience, frustration, exhaustion or selfish desire, but rather what is best for the one cared for.
- For those Christians suffering from dementia, pray that the Lord will remind them that He has not forsaken them. I have shared a story in the past about a lady I knew who suffered from Alzheimers. Even in that fog of confusion, she always spoke to me of God’s faithfulness. You can read that post here. It is a prayer that offer up for myself at times. I hope I am lucid until I die, but if I should get Alzheimer’s or dementia, I pray that I am like the examples I have seen of people who remember the steadfast love and faithfulness of the Lord even when all else is forgotten.
FREE PDF list of what to pray for shut-ins. Includes bible verses and a few lines to add notes/names. Download by clicking here.
Pray with purpose.
Reach out and encourage!
Please leave feedback in the comments section re: the PDF download. I am still trying to format this effectively to be a tool for your use and mine. Thank you in advance for your help.