Some time ago Lori from lorisprayercloset made a comment that nursing homes are a great equaliser. It really stuck with me. My 91 year old grandmother has just moved into one.
She used to be an amazing woman: strong, hard working, well travelled and competently opinionated. Grandad says she could do sums in her head faster than he could do them on the calculator. Now she can’t always remember our names. When I visited last week she was sitting in a circle with others who Grandad describes as ‘pretty far gone,’ all hitting oversized balloons around like kittens swatting at flies.
Grandad pointed another man out to me, who appeared to have had a stroke. ‘He used to be the headmaster of a school,’ he said, and it hit me again. Nursing homes: a great equaliser.
Somehow in the light of this our ladder-climbing, corporate rat-racing, pride-enhancing efforts seem to fade into insignificance.
It reminds me of the latin quote “Memento homo, quia pulvis es et in pulverem reverteris,” which was at the top of a Bruce Dawe poem that I’ve been studying with my kids: Remember man, that dust you are, and to dust you shall return.
Life is short. It is certainly not without meaning. What we do in this life does echo in eternity, but before we allow ourselves to get inflated with pride over our earthly achievements, it may do us all good to visit a nursing home.