Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Gift of Charity

I have had some experiences that are most tender for me running through my mind strongly these past few weeks.  I jotted them down thinking that would stop them from flooding my mind yet they continue to flood my mind.

I was planning on working today but when I started my car I had a warning light appear which has to do with my brakes, so taking today off since I can't get my car in until the am to have it looked at.
Since I have an unexpected day off I decided to catch up on my monthly Visiting Teaching message and as I was reading through this months message which is entitled, "Divine Attributes of Jesus Christ:  Filled with Love and Charity"  I instantly knew why my memories were still flooding my mind and so here I am again wanting to share some precious moments with you.

As a Hospice Nurse you have the unique opportunity of going into a families home during a very tender and at times stressful moment for families.  For me it is a very sacred time where loving bonds are formed that will travel with me well into the next journey of my life.

I have many cherished moments that have touched and forever changed my life.  So many that I am not able to share them all here in this post but there are three that have recently flooded my mind and I would like to share those with you.

One evening I was called and I found myself sitting with a beloved wife, mother, grand-mother, sister and aunt.  My memory started when everyone had turned in for the night from an exhausting day of sitting by their loved ones bedside.  One family member was sleeping on the couch in the living room where I was seated by her loved one.  In the early morning hours of the morning I noticed this sweet woman beginning to struggle and my medications weren't helping to calm her.  I had a feeling that I should play some beautiful music for her; so I found my favorite station of music on my smart phone and the music began to play.  That beloved adopted grand-ma to me immediately relaxed and a beautiful peaceful look came across her face and then a short time later she took her final breath in this life.   As I was preparing to leave the home I was deeply touched by the scene that was in front of me.  Sitting quietly at the kitchen table was this sweet adopted grand-ma's husband.  His back was to me and he was staring out at their window softly stirring his coffee.  I'm not sure why that scene touched me so deeply but as I watched him this love started feeling my entire being.

A year or so later I was again called and as I made my way to the home, the front door was opened and a woman came out and quickly threw her arms around me and told me how happy she was to see me.  That memory of the husband sitting at the kitchen table immediately came back to my mind and as I entered the home I was hoping to see him seated at the table but the table was empty.  I then gazed into the living room and there in a hospital bed in the same place his wife's had been I observed that man lying quietly.  As I began to perform my assessment the daughter shared with me how that night I had played the music for her mother, her cousin who had been asleep on the couch had been deeply touched and that moment had changed her life.  I was humbled and surprised and then a scripture started running through my mind, "...By small and simple things..."  During my shift that man was reunited with his beloved wife; another tender moment that deeply touched my soul.

The second happened during the Christmas season.  I was again called and found myself at a facility sitting with another wife and mother.  This hit home because this sweet mother was just a few years older than me.  Her family was struggling emotionally and physically.  I spent many hours just listening to them; especially her beloved husband who was truly at a loss.  I came to realize that this special mother was the glue that kept her family together.  A local Pastor who was a close friend to the family came and offered his support.  Oh how I loved this humble man.
This valiant mother was holding on for something, something which I was unable to share.  In exasperation at seeing his wife in her condition her husband turned to me and with tear filled eyes asked my, "Why is she just lingering...I can't stand seeing her suffer like this..."  I had no answers for him.  I tried to give him the answers I had heard and from past experiences shared with him that maybe she was waiting for someone or something.  I just did not know.  He turned back with shoulders drooped to face his beloved.  My heart was breaking right along with theirs.  Even their Pastor friend had no answers to bring them comfort.

A few minutes later this husband pulled out his phone and started playing "Amazing Grace."  I will never hear that beautiful hymn in the same way.  Words cannot describe the love and peace that filled that room.  Everyone was in tears including me.  As that beautiful song finished up, his beloved took her last breath in this life.  With tears in his eyes he turned to me and said, "I don't know why I played that song for her....I just felt she needed to hear it one more time."  I told him, that that was the most beautiful final gift he gave to her.  It was Christmas Eve.

I have thought many times about that family and wondered how they had been doing since losing their mother and spouse.  Again I found myself called and when I approached the door the young man that greeted me looked so familiar to me.  He immediately greeted me with a hug and said, "Your the one that sat with our mother, who we lost on Christmas Eve."  I felt like I was reunited with a long lost friend.  We visited as we entered the home and then I realized that I was know going to sit with their father.  He was still alert when I entered his room and he expressed his recognition of me.  I had a a brief window to visit with him and his family to catch me up on how their lives had changed since their mother passed and how they all turned to their Pastor friend and started attending his church. I was so happy for them.  Shortly after my friend slipped into his coma.
The day he passed the family and I were gathered around him and visiting about their good times and their bad times.  Again this wonderful love and peace filled the room.  My friend did not pass while I was there but a few short hours after I had left he peacefully slipped away to be reunited with his beloved wife.  This time I know his family will be alright they continue to have the love and support of their beloved Pastor friend who again was right there at their side.
Another scripture ran through my mine, "...I will not leave thee comfortless..."

The last memory I want to share involves a loving man that works at one of our local grocery stores.  I met him years ago when I would take my lunch break and walk over to the store to get a bite to eat.  He had the most warming and beautiful smile.  I immediately loved this gently man.  I was in the store awhile back so looking forward to seeing his contagious smile but alas he was not there it was someone else who greeted me.  I must admit I was a little worried and very disappointed but then I received the call and as I entered the home I found my friend holding his sweet sweet wife.
My heart instantly broke as I took in that beautiful scene.
There is such a special bond between husband and wife.

The day my friends sweet companion was called home I had a verse of scripture that had been playing out in my mind from the moment I had entered their home.  I shared with my friend that a scripture had been running through my mind and told him that I would like to share it with him and his beloved wife.  Thank goodness for smart phones, I plugged in a few words of the scripture and my phone took me right to the chapter and verse so that I could read it to my friend,

"For I am now ready to be offered and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course and I have kept the faith.
Henceforth, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness
which the Lord, the righteous judge shall give me at that day;
and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."
(2 Timothy 4: 6-8)

Soon after this sweet sweet woman was called home.  I was touched by the out pouring of love that came to this humble man from his churches congregation.  They truly showed the love of Christ.

Below is a copy of the Visiting Teaching message that tied all together for me the memories that have been flowing through my mind.  Each and every time I am called to a home I feel that I get to taste that pure love of Christ and oh how sweet it is.  I hope to one day be filled with that love what a wonderful day that will be.


"Divine Attributes of Jesus Christ: Filled with Charity and Love

Prayerfully study this material and seek to know what to share. How will understanding the divine attributes of the Savior increase your faith in Him and bless those you watch over through visiting teaching? For more information, go to reliefsociety.lds.org.
This is part of a series of Visiting Teaching Messages featuring divine attributes of the Savior.
women
The Influence of Righteous Women, by Julie Rogers
The Guide to the Scriptures defines charity as “the highest, noblest, strongest kind of love” (“Charity”). It is the pure love of Jesus Christ. As we learn of Jesus Christ and strive to become like Him, we will begin to feel His pure love in our lives and be prompted to love and serve others as He would. “Charity is having patience with someone who has let us down,” said President Thomas S. Monson. “It is resisting the impulse to become offended easily. It is accepting weaknesses and shortcomings. It is accepting people as they truly are. It is looking beyond physical appearances to attributes that will not dim through time. It is resisting the impulse to categorize others.”1
In the Book of Mormon, we learn the great truth that we “pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that [we] may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that [we] may become the sons [and daughters] of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure” (Moroni 7:48).

From Our History

“A sister who had recently been widowed was grateful for visiting teachers who mourned with her and comforted her. She wrote: ‘I was in desperate need of someone to whom I could reach out; someone who would listen to me. … And they listened. They comforted me. They wept with me. And they hugged me … [and] helped me out of the deep despair and depression of those first months of loneliness.’
“Another woman summed up her feelings when she was the recipient of true charity from a visiting teacher: ‘I knew that I was more than just a number on the record books for her to visit. I knew that she cared about me.’”2
Like these sisters, many Latter-day Saints around the world can attest to the truth of this statement by President Boyd K. Packer (1924–2015), President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “How consoling it is to know that no matter where [a family may] go, a Church family awaits them. From the day they arrive, he will belong to a quorum of the priesthood and she will belong to Relief Society.”3

Consider This

How is Christ our perfect example of love and charity?"

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