Theology Major, Class of 2017
It’s so hard for me to put in to words my experience here at the Mullen Home. These past two months have been transformative for me, and have shaped me in the way I view life, death and mercy. This is the year of Mercy, but I didn’t really understand what that looked like in my life until this summer… I have seen and experienced it daily here. Mercy is the love of God as it meets man. Mercy is when we are able to touch God, or His love touches us.
I have spent this summer focusing on intentionally giving to the Residents, and attempting to satisfy their needs. Sure, it’s inconvenient to stop and read to someone (who can barely hear you) when you wanted to go take your break. Sure it’s uncomfortable to hold someone’s hand while they’re yelling for help and you have to wait on a CNA to assist them. Yeah, it’s real awkward to ask someone a question and to receive a blank stare. But life isn’t always about being comfortable, and often in the most uncomfortable times I’m able to find the most joy. If I was able to make someone laugh, make them smile, or even just show them they’re important…if I was able to ease their pain even just for a minute, it’s worth it. If I am able to show them Christ’s love—His mercy—It is worth it. I have experienced so much joy in giving this gift.
I have learned that life is often painful, and it’s not always a physical pain. Sometimes it’s the pain of saying goodbye to someone you love, or the life you left behind. Sometimes it’s the pain of worrying about a doctor appointment or a grandchild. Sometimes it’s the pain that comes from living a broken life. Even though life is painful, pain is not the end. Christ didn’t die for us to suffer—he died so that through suffering we might have joy in the resurrection.
Christ wanted us to live joyfully in the midst of suffering. As I was sitting and coloring a with one of the Residents she said to me: “we’re all in pain, but that doesn’t mean I’m just going to sit in my room and rot.” There is so much truth in this—we’re all in pain, but that doesn’t mean life isn’t worth living. Our society often looks at people as if they are some sort of a machine. Once they start aging, become disabled they seem to be “broken down.” They are of no use to the world. We ought to get rid of them, at least hide them away. But this couldn’t be farther from the truth! The elderly are so precious, and with each passing day they become more so. They have so much wisdom to share! They have so many stories! They have grown so much over the years, and we have so much to learn from them. And now they are aging. They don’t function as well. It’s harder to move around, to hear, to see. They are growing old, and coming closer to death. But in age they are becoming more precious, for they are becoming again like a child, preparing to enter the kingdom of God. And as they are growing back into children, I’m so thankful that God has given me the opportunity to show them His love…and I am so thankful that He has given me the opportunity to love Christ in each of them.
I thank you Lord, for allowing me to hold your shaking hand, wipe your bleeding face, embrace your shoulder, aching from the heavy cross. I thank you for allowing me to sit and stay awake with you in the garden, as you await the coming of your passion. I thank you that you have allowed me to be the child playing at your feet and bring a smile to your face.
I have shown them mercy, yes. But I have also seen Christ in their eyes, and through serving them God’s mercy has been poured out on me. For that I am thankful.