Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Just Do It

In our church, there's a program called "Visiting Teaching". Adult women in our church group are partnered up and assigned 2-3 other sisters to visit, watch over, befriend, and what have you. The expectation is that we visit these sisters at least once a month. One of the women that I'm responsible for is an elderly woman who recently had her leg amputated due to diabetes. She lives alone, except for her deaf and blind Pekingese dog, Sassy.

When I first met Lorna, I was touched. She was so warm and friendly and seemed to be in good spirits. However, she expressed that she'd been praying to Heavenly Father for help.

"I'm so lonely", she said.

My heart broke. I can't stand when people are lonely. I know from experience how it feels and surely you do, too. No matter how bad things get, as long as you have someone, it's not the worst it could be.

I made a silent promise to make sure this woman could find a friend in me. I visited her again, this time bringing my children along. We didn't stay long (the kids started getting antsy) but I felt I'd done a good deed, even if the conversation did feel a little superficial.

A couple of weeks went by and I found myself putting off visiting Lorna. All I wanted to do was hug her and be with her and tell her that she wasn't alone, but I didn't want to be overbearing. Then I was worried she'd think I felt sorry for her because of her leg. I didn't want her to think people pitied her. Mostly, I was afraid that my concern wouldn't be perceived as genuine. Finally, what was I going to talk to an 80-something about? What did we possibly have in common?

So I put it off. Even though I walked by her house every day on the way to Carter's bus stop. I felt like such a sissy.

Finally, I decided to just do it, as Nike would say. After Elizabeth and I dropped Carter off, we went to visit Lorna. She was so happy to see us and I instantly felt better. I may not have known what to say, but I could tell that the words I spoke weren't important. She just needed someone, and I was there.

Surprisingly, the conversation flowed easily. We had fun talking about all kinds of things: kids, sewing, DVD machines, grandchildren, and so on. After awhile, there was a lull and I took advantage of it. I didn't know how to tell her, so I just let the words come out.

"My job is to come visit you and teach you, but my biggest priority is that I don't want you to be lonely. I know how it feels, and I just don't want you to have to feel that way."

Tears came to Lorna's eyes and I saw the pain she was holding in come spilling out. Our relationship instantly became deeper and I felt the love of the Lord present. Lorna began to confide more of her feelings and trials to me and I felt that I was lifting her burden, if but just a small amount.

We continued talking on a deeper level and then I left, grateful to God for giving me the courage to reach out, past the social walls that we each construct, to lift another out of her sorrow.

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