I learn a lot from our friend Darlene. She is now retired after working in the laundry at the nursing home for decades. In retirement she has a part-time job cleaning the local funeral home. Darlene loved the people she served at the nursing home. She learned a great deal through her experiences there and now I am learning from her.
We are studying prayer in our Sunday School class. Last Sunday morning Ray talked about postures people take when praying. Often we bow our heads in deep respect. Sometimes we are in such earnest that we lie prostrate on the floor before God, pleading with Him for what we need.
Ray mentioned that a common stance for prayer in Bible times was raising one’s arms to God, the same way our little children raise their arms to beg their mama or daddy to hold them. Darlene said that many times people raise their arms toward God just before they die. She once saw someone do that for 30 minutes.
Darlene loved her patients. Several weeks ago, she told us about a resident who had just passed away. Darlene was grieving the loss of her friend who had lived at the nursing home for 20 years. Darlene said the staff had been particularly good to that patient because she was so alone. She had three children, but none of them had been to see her during that time. Our local funeral home buried her beside one of her parents in a town nearby.
Once the nursing home had a resident with no family. A couple from the area helped this person. When the woman was near death, the couple had been sitting with her for a time and went home to get some rest. The patient died while they were gone. The woman felt bad that the patient had died alone. Darlene told her, “I was with her. I checked on her every couple of minutes, every time I passed by. I was with her when she passed away.”
Darlene has never married. Her conversations are filled with her sister and brother-in-law, her niece and nephew, her great nephews and great niece, and many friends, some of whom have very unusual nicknames. She speaks often of one brother who passed away too young and another who left town years ago and has not been heard from since.
Darlene does much good in the world. I’m thankful that she teaches me—never in a formal way, but simply by being faithful, joyful, smiling, teasing Darlene who loves to call Ray and me Notty and Little as our grandchildren do.
Now may the God of peace,
who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep
through the blood of the eternal covenant,
that is, Jesus our Lord,
equip you in every good thing to do His will,
working in us that which is pleasing in His sight,
through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever.