Do You Know Why You Are Here?

To acknowledge that aging is a diminishing experience is easy in the abstract. When it becomes personal it is more difficult. I am walking with a friend for whom an extended care facility has become her only choice. She is no longer able to function in the home she loves.

This friend now lives her life from one small room. The bed is the center of attention. A small wardrobe, a bedside cabinet, a dresser that doubles as a TV stand and one chair occupy the rest of the floor space. This arrangement of furniture is an obstacle course for navigating her wheel chair.

While visiting, I leave the comfort of our casual conversation and risk asking what she is really feeling. She said she never realized how hard it would be to lose personal freedom. By this she means that she is not allowed to move from her chair or her bed without pushing a call button and waiting for assistance (which is slow in coming).

I ask if the staff is competent and kind.

My friend says that they are OK but she has concern that they know so little about her. Every morning they ask her if she knows why she is there.

My memory goes back to the days when I worked as a nurse. I suggest to my friend that maybe they are not seeking information for themselves but checking to see if she is aware of where she is and why. I explain that this is a routine question to see if a patient is oriented to time and place.

I wonder if this is one of the reasons God wants me to pray. He really doesn’t need me to give Him information. He does want me to be aware of where I am and why.

I’m glad He cares enough to ask me everyday, “Do you know why you are here?”

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