Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Frustrating Visit

Robert Flowers
Clemmons, NC

For the second time this past Wednesday, Rev. Roland Barnhardt and I took Emerson Zahn to see his wife, Alberta, at Bermuda Commons nursing-rehab center. Both in their late 80s, the two live in separate nursing facilities. Each week, however, someone in the church takes Emerson to see his wife. Since both Emerson and Alberta suffer from severe dementia, the conversations are usually scattered. Even so, Emerson insists on seeing and caring for his wife each week.

These visits bring to the table one area of ministry that is particularly challenging. When physical and mental disparities separate healthy relationships, where do we look for the work of God? Each new day is God’s gift, but what does this mean for those who are mentally unable to surface two related thoughts? When I observe the long and meaningful relationship still shared by Emerson and Alberta, God’s blessings and gifts are hard to miss. But, for some reason, frustration—either with my abilities or the situation in general—also manages to find its place. This frustration will never completely absolve, but I look forward to wrestling with it and learning from it over the next few weeks and years.

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