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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Monday, March 14, 2011

Old

Last Saturday afternoon I dropped in to see an old friend. I say “old” not just because we have been friends for over 30 years, but because at 96, my friend is literally and legitimately old.

We talked about many things; old memories, old stories, old hurts and joys among them. We reminisced about his dear companion, now departed, and about their children and grandchildren. He told me about taking his car to the grocery store that morning (yes, he still drives), about the guy who comes to fix his computer, and the visiting homemaker who now comes to help him twice a week. We did not solve the problems of the world, although we both would if we could. In fact, nothing we talked about was really all that important. And yet, I came away with the usual sense of joy and peace because of our time together.

Thirty years ago my friend was my pastor, and he was a good one. I say he was a good one, not just because the congregation ran smoothly under his leadership although for the most part, it did. He was not a good pastor just because he knew how to plan worship schedules or find Sunday school teachers. He was a good pastor because he knew how to care for and listen to others. He was faithful to visit the older members of his congregation as well as those who were sick or bereaved. He was my pastor, and later on, I was his. In some unofficial sense, I guess I think I still am.

In my visiting with congregations, I often hear pastors and others lamenting about the current lack of priesthood visiting. It is not an easy thing to fit in these days. The demands of modern life are such that priesthood members often feel they do not have time for this task. Further, modern families are busy and often don’t feel they have time to be visited. A check-in on facebook may be all the time they can afford. In our post-modern age, pastoral visiting sometimes seems like a dying art.

Yet, in all of this busyness, there is one group that is a notable exception: old people. Old people are often lonely and sometimes seem to be almost forgotten. The direction in Doctrine and Covenants 161:3a; Open your hearts and feel the yearnings of your brothers and sisters who are lonely, despised, fearful, neglected, unloved, may even seem custom-made for some of these dear old folks. If they are fortunate, they may have family members who check on them, but still their days are frequently spent quietly alone, especially in the grey months of winter. They don’t expect much. They will not demand a lot of your time, but even a short visit can do so much to brighten their day. They will know someone cared enough to call, to drop in for a chat, or perhaps to bring the communion. They will be glad you came, and so will you.

Is there an old person you know who could use a visit? Have you got just one hour (or even a half hour) to spare for someone who is old? Why not call and arrange a time to drop by? You will be so glad you did.

Posted by Carman

2 comments:

  1. Yes, I have been given the gift of an older person whom it is my priviledge to visit as often as I can. I try for twice a week but fall short of that too often.
    I have been repeatedly thanked for doing so and yet I don't feel deserving of anyone's thanks. I visit him because I want to.

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  2. Steve, I think you have put it very well. It is a blessing and a privilege. Further more, the visitor benefits at least as much as the visitee.

    There have been several people who have sent me notes "off-line" in appreciation for this post. Marion and I are always gladdened when you find the thoughts posted here helpful or a blessing. As always, we invite you to share them publicly if you feel able to do so.

    In the meantime, thank you!

    ReplyDelete