FOR SENIORS: THINGS THAT MATTERJul 3rd, 2012 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Dr Jerry Elrod's Senior Moments Blog
Those affected by the horrible devastation of fire and flood have learned what is important. When evacuation orders are handed down, those most intimately and immediately affected know what to gather, to scoop up, to move from house to car. They know what matters. When we were faced with a similar prospect a little over a year ago, we found it necessary to assemble and collect those things we know are irreplaceable.
Things like legal papers, birth certificates, insurance, documents that are required to address legal considerations, PHOTOGRAPHS. How will you recall and retrace memories of more precious and happier times without them? What can you do to clasp close to your breast those events, episodes and occasions that made up your life… until now?
Things that matter become very critically and crucially important to choose and find when you have 10 minutes or less. The flames lick not far beyond your door. The waters threaten not 36 inches away. How do you select what represents you, what you want to have when you look back upon your life, to help you remember? Some folk in the west and others in Florida, affected by the floods can tell you. They have their graduate degree in that course.
How about you, removed as we are from immediate identification with the presence of tragedy? What do we offer or say or feel in the presence of their being hit, not brushed, not glanced, but hit head on by the horrible defeat of losing it all? May I take you out to dinner? How feeble! How frail! How hollow! Don’t you understand, I’ve lost everything?
Emotional and Caring Response
In just such moments as these, we discover how impossible it is to articulate the depth of care in such presence of pain? How does one stretch across the divide? How does one identify with the profound sense of annihilation just felt when stepping out to see nothing but ashes left? Do you remember what stood there? Do you know what I kept in that cabinet? Do you feel what I feel?
Charity is more than supporting the Red Cross or the Salvation Army. It is more than hauling a few clothes to a local thrift shop. It is much more than sharing in a prayer service Definitive, genuine, non conditional caring stops by to say: ‘what can I do? where can we start? what do you need? how may I be present to your needs?”
There is nothing that bespeaks caring more than presence. That’s it. Nothing more. All of the platitudes notwithstanding, being there, showing care and compassion makes a huge difference. We can do that. It isn’t difficult for people who really understand and who really care.