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Senior Moments

Category: Volunteer / Topics: Advocacy Compassion Generosity Values Volunteer

A Senior's Moments

by Dan Seagren

Posted: September 3, 2017

What really prompts us to do something for others?…

The Press Enterprise, Riverside CA

I don't think my friend Diana will mind if I take an excerpt from one of her columns:

On this late afternoon, she was sleepy, lined up with a long row of wheelchairs parked in front of the television set, waiting for dinner to arrive. She roused when I kissed her, listened as I told her my name, and then she asked, “Are you my husband?” Am I your husband? No, Mama, I am not. But I love you very much, and I’m glad to be with you for a minute or two.

After I left her that evening, I drove across town for a meeting with our local public-health representative and a gentleman from the parks department. For the last fifteen months, our church has been participating with a rotation of organizations who provide a hot dinner for people who are homeless in one of our city parks on Thursday evenings. Several from our congregation signed on to help make this happen . . .

We won't go into the reasons behind the homeless and fragile seniors now but I hope we will recognize their existence nearby and far away. True, many do not have elderly parents nearby but we all have needy homeless and lonely seniors close by. Diana's mother hasn't known her daughter for years but mistook her for her husband. But this time she couldn't linger very long as she was scheduled for another meeting.

Her church folk provide food for the homeless weekly. Providing nourishment is not only thoughtful and generous, it is often essential although not reciprocal. Likewise, Diana, visiting her mother who doesn't even know her anymore, could cease visiting and her mother maybe wouldn't really miss her – but Diana would. And the church could abruptly quit providing those Thursday meals and simply let the homeless go hungry.

What compelled Diana to visit her mother, then go to a meeting with health and park authorities? What would make us do something similar for a loved one or for strangers? Jurisprudence? Compassion? Love? Guilt? Mercy? What really prompts us to do something for somebody?

Diana did these two very different things. Because it was the right thing to do? Because she was humane? Because it was her responsibility? Because she was retired and had the time? Why we do some things yet hold back on others isn't always easy to know precisely. Maybe we all need more answers. In the end, it is doing that is most important.

Dan Seagren is an active retiree whose writings reflect his life as a Pastor, author of several books, and service as a Chaplain in a Covenant Retirement Community.

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Posted: September 3, 2017   Accessed 505 times

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