Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cookies and Compassion

The cookie poll results are in, and the chocolate chip wins as favorite, oatmeal raisin wins second place, with the peanut butter cookie coming in last.  The poor little old Oreo received no votes.  Just goes to show that most of us prefer a homemade cookie over a store-bought cookie.  Thanks for your votes and check out the new poll!

Where I live, it's misting and dismally dark.....but, cozy indoors.  The fireplace and lamps are lit, the perfect ambiance for a Sunday morning.  Even the coffee tastes better on Sunday.

The week before Thanksgiving has held darkness for our family  the past 45 years.  My husband's older brother was killed by a drunk driver in a car accident the eve of Thanksgiving.  No matter how many years pass, the embers of the heart are fanned with memories that reignite the aching void.

Celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas is great fun when  all hearts are happy and minds are at peace, but they can be terribly lonely times for others, particularly those who are forgotten in rest homes.  Both of our mothers were residents of a rest home, so we know first-hand what it is like for those who reside there.  It was gut-wrenching the first time I felt the touch of a feeble outstretched arm of a mother who thought I was her daughter.  All I could do was hold that bony little hand of a stranger in mine and offer her comfort as though I was. 

This is the time of year when our older generations need us the most because of loneliness.  We have to remember that our generation will be sitting in those wheelchairs next.  We all fear the onset of Alzheimer's; but, could it be possible that dementia is a gift from our Creator?  a way for us to be spared the cruel slaps that memory gives us when we are tuned in to reality?

Wouldn't it make for a beautiful Christmas gesture if each one of us would take a small amount of time to visit a rest home this holiday season?  Perhaps bake a plate of those homemade chocolate chip cookies for them or just go sit and talk.  We do that now, and the rewards are immediate and intense.  Their gratitude can be overwhelming.  It truly can.  Once we see the tears pooling in their clouded eyes, we know we've made a significant difference in some one's journey.

I don't know about the rest of the baby boomers, but I'm beginning to realize what it feels like to trudge up those last steps of life's ladder.  It's obvious that we're already being categorized by the color of our hair, the way we walk, the wrinkles in our skin, and our loss of hearing, just as we judged the generations before us.  When will the Western Hemisphere wise up and value the aging process for what it really is.  Do we place a stigma on marathon runners who are farther in the lead?  No.  We call them winners. 

Let's all remember those sweet souls out there who have been removed from their homes only because of human frailty and are nearing the finish line, with no one noticing or caring.  They don't ask for our presents, but I know that our presence would mean the world to them.  They will hold our kindness forever in their hearts and carry us with them to Heaven when their race is finally over.

Today's Quote:  Wrinkles are the service stripes of life.  Anonymous