It's been some time since I referred to my experience with my 78-year-old neighbor. For those who had not joined me when those posts were made, or for those who would like to refresh their memory, here are links to the previous two posts.
Post #1- Living Into Lonliness
Post #2- Living Into Lonliness: Update
Since those posts, my neighbor has returned to the hospital twice. The late night, flashing lights of the ambulance were not a welcomed sight for me. At least I could run across the street this time, and ask if she'd like me to call her daughter. I WAS fully prepared with the phone number. This time there were cardiac symptoms, and I decided to go sit by her bedside so she would not be alone. Perhaps talking to someone could pass the time while the ominous test results were being processed.
All was well, she returned home the next day. I was able to pick her up and meet her sister--who was troubled that she did not know where her sister (my neighbor) had been. (Another phone number to put on my list, perhaps.)
So I'm learning the ongoing lessons that these challenges to her bring.
- I'm noticing that it's hard to ask for help when a person is used to being independent. Especially when a person does not have a large circle of friends or family to call on.
- I'm seeing how quickly a strong person's health can decline.
- I'm empathizing with the disappointment, discouragement and sometimes depression that can result from seemingly-permanent, unexpected change.
- I'm knowing that I must not be too busy to offer what I'm able to do, while keeping balance with my own priorities as well.
We all need each other in one way or another. Sometimes our past experiences with trusting people get in our way of reaching out to others. We may fear pain. We may fear rejection. Who knows all the things we may fear or want to avoid! Sharpening our own discernment, however, is vital to knowing where to spend our time and energy. Not all experiences will turn out to be as beneficial and heart-warming as this has been for me. Yet all experiences can be learning experiences. We must decide for ourselves if the risk is worth taking. When we don't learn to trust those who are trustworthy, we may never know what we're missing.
What experiences have you had in learning to trust or serve?