If you have an elderly parent, loved one, or someone with serious disabilities; it may be hard to understand why they do not seem able to join in the laughter, and events you’ve planned. This is when stepping outside of yourself long enough to put yourself in their place would help give you a deeper perspective of what’s going on in their heart.
It’s right and good to encourage them to participate, and join in your festivities. Even if they do not show it, they are benefiting from being included. Allow them to be themselves; if they would rather be quiet and sit in the background, let them. Just being a part of the family gathering, and not putting any expectations on them, gives them a feeling of being wanted, and needed. Offering them a beverage, a tidbit to snack on before dinner, also helps them feel your love and extension of compassion to them.
That feeling of love and acceptance can do wonders to bring them to a place of opening up, and being a greater part of the fun. But even they remain quiet, the warmth of the family surroundings is a balm to their soul, and can bring much healing if they are in grief.
Many times holidays become just another day to endure. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can choose to extend ourselves to other’s, notice those in our family or those we care for in the nursing home, or hospital who may be especially lonely. Those in grief of the loss of a loved one, will respond to our smile, a kind gesture, allowing them to be themselves, but also gently encouraging them and bringing hope to their situation.
If they begin to talk and express their sadness, and attempt to share their feelings; this is a very important step, and we should make every effort to listen, and care. You don’t have to pretend to have the answers. If you can give some meaningful advice, that is great. But, if they see you truly care, are really listening, this has as much effectiveness as medicine. It brings healing to the heart, and restoration to the soul.
Many times, it is best to be very slow to speak. It is easy to make harsh, unkind statements that only add to their suffering, and pain.
As the holiday season comes upon us, endeavor to brighten the circumstances around the home, especially for those going thru trials, losses, and illness. Simple acts of kindness and compassion can be the best gift, and most important ingredient during these holiday times.
God's richest blessings during these seasons of festivities.
by Margaret Cagle
The family gathered at Grandma's house.
It was the tradition year after year.
When Thanksgiving Day rolled around,
They all were expected to be here.
They sat down to a Thanksgiving meal,
And Uncle John gave thanks for the food.
Some wanted the meal to be over,
But they really didn't want to be rude.
They enjoyed the turkey and fixings
As they chattered about family news.
Then the ladies brought out desserts,
So many from which they could choose.
Then Cousin Jane arose to excuse herself.
"Grandma, your pies look really swell,
But Black Friday has already started,
And I am now late for a special sale."
Soon Cousin Tim slipped from his chair.
He said "Goodbye" to one and all.
"I am meeting my friends at the movies.
There's a new one showing at the mall."
Then Uncle Jim heard a honking horn.
"That must be my co-worker, Nate.
We're hunting for the rest of the day.
Grandma, the meal was just great!"
At the day's end, Grandma was alone,
And she got down on her knees to pray.
"I love You, Lord, and I give You thanks,
But what happened to Thanksgiving Day?"