Most of us have heard the crude remark, “the lights are on but nobody’s home” referring to someone with cognitive impairment. I recently found myself in conversation with a person whom, I have since learned, has a known diagnosis of dementia. As we talked, it became increasingly clear to me that there was little relationship between my comments and the responses I was hearing. Yet, the person I was talking to seemed to be enjoying the exchange of words.
I caught myself pondering, “Why am I engaging in this conversation?”
Here are some of the things I am considering.
Is lending dignity to a person by listening an expression of love?
Am I able to be content, for a time, simply honoring the person for whom he or she is without assessing what value the conversation has for me?
Could the person I am talking with feel the benefit of human contact even if it cannot be expressed in coherent words?
Do we have any examples of conversation that bridges cognitive barriers?
I wonder why God invites us to talk to Him when our thoughts are not His thoughts?
Does He listen to me when I “don’t get it” simply because He loves me and wants to strengthen our relationship?
Does He know that I benefit from a conversation with Him even when my responses are not yet lined up with His intentions?
Does He like to hear my voice because He loves me rather than because He needs me to contribute to His knowledge base?
I welcome your thoughts.