Recently, a good friend of mine went with me to visit two sweet women living in a nursing home. They’re a mother-daughter pair, and they went to my church for many, many years. Both suffer from memory problems, but they love talking about our mutual friends and memories from their time at Southview.
There’s something so bittersweet about these visits. I feel torn between the joy of visiting with such lovely ladies and the sadness of recognizing the loss that comes with age. While they have varying degrees of memory issues, they both recognize that they are no longer living at home, and both express a desire to return to that home.
The daughter noted how much she missed simple things like cutting the grass and walking in the mall.
At that moment, I realized how much I take for granted each day. And how easily I can breeze through days without pausing to be thankful for all I can do.
When I arrived home, it was dinner time for the puppies. Our dogs are 14, 10 and 2ish, so the only one who takes our usual 2-mile post-dinner walk is our youngest, Lily. The other two simply aren’t interested anymore.
But this night, Chico followed me to the door and starting nudging my leg with his snout, his sign that he wants to go out. But two miles is too far for an old dog with bad hips. So I started getting Lily’s leash on and told Chico he’d need to stay home.
But he nudged me again, and I felt the Spirit remind me of my earlier visit to the nursing home. Those ladies longed for the simple pleasure of being outside and moving freely. I was reminded that something as simple as a walk could be a real blessing to someone who can no longer enjoy all the things we take for granted each day.
I looked at Chico’s sweet brown face and told him he was going for a walk. I grabbed his leash and his tail was wagging so hard it was pulling his whole hind end with it. He danced around and pushed his way through the door as soon as it was cracked open.
We took a shorter walk that night. We moseyed along and Lily matched her pace to Chico’s. The air was brisk and the stars were out. It was a beautiful night and we took our time walking through the quiet neighborhood.
The dogs walked side by side, tails wagging nearly in unison.
And I felt a joy that only comes when I slow down and recognize the multitude of blessings I all too often take for granted.
I am blessed with…
…a husband, son and family who love me.
…three sweet, loving dogs.
…good health and the ability to walk, run and dance anytime I like.
…a warm house, clean water, food and a comfortable bed.
…a church family that cares about its members even when they’re not able to make it to the physical church building anymore.
…a God who loves me even when I take all these blessings for granted.
We had a great walk. And I might be crazy, but I’m pretty sure I saw a satisfied look on old Chico’s face when we got back home. I kissed that sweet face and thanked him for reminding me to appreciate the simple things.