This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.—John 15:12 (ESV)
Just Be with Me
You shall increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side.—PSALM 71:21 [NKJV]
When we lived in California, the state funded In-Home Supportive Services, a program providing the elderly or disabled with nonmedical care in their homes. One summer, I took a job through the program to work for a sweetheart named Helen. Although 75, Helen’s intellectual disability limited her to the outlook of a 12-year-old. She cooked simple meals. Fed her beloved dogs, Macy and Ruff. Made her bed. But she needed help with heavy housework, shopping and rides to appointments.
Helen always wanted to sit and chat during the four hours I helped out twice a week. I wanted to make sure I earned my paycheck. I swept, mopped and scrubbed like a fiend. But I rarely sat down to chat.
One day my husband needed to use our shared car. When I called Helen to cancel, she said, “Okay” in her usual perky voice. But the following afternoon when I showed up at her door, her face crumpled. “I was so lonesome after you called yesterday,” she said, wiping at the tears that wet her cheeks.
With an aching heart, I realized that Helen needed a friend, not a maid. Someone just to be with her. To talk about the antics of Macy and Ruff. To pick a few apples together from the tree in her backyard. To share a laugh or a disappointment.
I didn’t quit cleaning for Helen. But from that day on, I took a lot of breaks.
Dear Lord, please help me remember that simply being with my loved one, not always doing for them, is often the best kind of care.
Share this story