Twice a day, every day, a 92 year old man goes to the nursing home to feed his wife. Some days she seems to recognize him and he is thrilled with that experience. On other days he knows she has gone someplace different in her mind as she just stares at him. “How do keep doing this day after day?” I asked him as he was walking down the hall. “He smiled and simply said “She stood by me all these years that I studied and worked. It is my turn to stand by her now.”
There was no resentment in his voice, no sense of duty or obligation. As he looked at me I could feel his deep commitment of love which gave him the strength to keep showing up for her no matter who he found when he visited her.
In a recent hospitalization I watched nurses, techs, housekeepers, doctors walk into my room each day and several times a day. I asked one nurse: “how do you keep going when the hospital is filled to overflowing with respiratory issues day after day?” Her immediate response came with a tone of passion. “I love being a nurse. I love what I am able to do for people.” I felt the sincerity and authenticity of those words come through her presence, her service to me and to others.
As I have pondered my questions, I recognize I was really asking “how do your remain faithful and loving when the going gets difficult?” In both of these people, the answer seems to be ‘because that is who I am!” It seems so simple.
Over these past weeks I have been watching people give to others from the core of who they are. The grace of God within them flows and there is a kind of healing that takes place. There is a generosity of spirit in these individuals which does not count the cost, but gives in ways that truly make a difference. I am in awe at how generous so many people are with their time, their talents, their gifts, their presence to others.
February is known as the month of love. My prayer is for each of us to see in ourselves the depth and breadth of Love giving of itself freely and sincerely through us. And may we see Love in all those who touch our lives each day.