Good News, by Chaplain Helmar Heckel
Perception is truth!" The first time I heard this expression I didn’t buy it. Now I see its validity. I still believe truth to be objective, but in a real way my truth. Coming to Good Samaritan Nursing Home has been a transformational experience. For years my perception nursing homes had been this: a sad place of passivity, despair and hopelessness where old people meet the grim reaper.
Now, after one year, my perception of Good Samaritan has been revolutionary. Now I see the entire facility as a pulsating home of activity, joy and reality where new horizons are explored, fresh discoveries are realized and old dreams are resurrected. It is not a place where you come to die; it is a place where you learn to live again until or unless you die. We are not denying the end of life, we are learning to live in the shadow of the end with joy, with laughter, with hope, with friendship with care, with people who love us, with courage to finish unfinished business, and with freedom to explore yet uncharted territory.
It is simply amazing to see people paint out of their inner self, to hear people enter into precious conversation, to listen to laughter from a silly joke, to reminisce war stories and to be thankful to emerge alive, to sort out childhood memories, to see people be transformed by new truths from the Bible, to see prayer answered, to form new relationships with new neighbors, and to find new purpose and reason for being.
It is not surprising that such a revolution of truth would explode in my heart. The Scripture itself testifies to such energy and life. In Psalm 92 we read of "old people" with a startling twist. It says, "Planted in the house o the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still yield fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap and very green, to declare that the Lord is upright, He is my rock and there is no unrighteousness with Him."
God’s perspective on "old age" certainly stands against the prevailing sense of "old age" and the cultural/social bias toward nursing homes and old people. May your eyes be opened to the new world of old folks whose glittering eyes and wrinkled faces point not to their soon demise but to their rich and treasured past. May you see the potential of the old by seeing them as people full of sap and very green! Come, let me introduce you to some of these old folks. They are terrific.