Pause. A temporary stop or rest and, I like one definition I read: a breathing space. Even in this empty nest phase of life – where the daily schedule is much more my own and certainly more relaxed – there is the need for pause. A bit of breathing space. My regular pause comes, at least, twice a week when I visit with my senior friends at the assisted living home near me. And what a wonderful pause it is! My afternoons spent there are not only a balm for over-active cares and concerns, but also a real refreshing to my soul!
Most of my sweet friends there are in their 90s – or very close to it. Their schedules are no longer dictated by careers or other daily work. They do not drive and are not drawn into the myriad of activities that keep us busy and/or distracted. I’m sure there are exceptions, but everyone I have met is content – even happy to be there. I have learned much during my games of UNO or FlipIt – these chances to pause during my week – with these friends. Let me share just three:
1. Relationships are key. No longer defined by their career, the house they live in or where they are going on vacation, these folks simply enjoy being together. No doubt, some have closer bonds than others but everyone is included, looked out for and everyone belongs. Friendships and family bonds are what support us. How much more important to invest wisely in these than in the fleeting things that so often drain us of time, energy and even joy.
2. Good health should never be taken for granted. All of us are aging. We cannot stop it but we can do our best to prepare our senior bodies to be the best they can be. Investments that I make in my health now will be much appreciated when I am 82, 92 or beyond.
3. A genuine hope of Heaven makes all the difference. These seniors are not naive that their time on earth is short. They know that life is fleeting. But there is always a difference – whether they recognize the difference or not – between a believer who is close to eternity and one who is simply “hoping” for something decent after death. Knowing that death reunites you not only with loved ones but also with the savior who died for you removes the sting and the fear of death. These saints possess an assurance and a peace that is enviable.
Pause is the prompt for this week’s FMF. I am very grateful for the pause – the breathing space – that I enjoy every week while I volunteer. I am blessed to be sure.