Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.—JAMES 1:27 (NIV)
My widowed mother, who’s 77, kept the phone conversation lighthearted, but I sensed something wasn’t right. We lived an hour’s drive from each other.
Mom had lost her footing the previous night and fallen to the floor. Luckily, she wasn’t injured, but she said it took her an hour to get back on her feet. After numerous attempts, she finally pulled herself up on an armchair.
“Mom, it sounds like your arthritis is worsening. If you’ll set up a doctor’s appointment, I’ll go with you.”
A few days later, in Mom’s apartment, I realized the problem was more than bad knees. Housekeeping was never Mom’s strong suit, but this was different. The floors throughout her apartment were scattered with tissues and other litter she’d dropped and didn’t (couldn’t?) pick up. Her ironing board was heaped with laundry, her dining table covered in unopened mail.
At the doctor’s office, I slipped a note to the nurse, addressing my concerns. The doctor handled it diplomatically. “Ruth, I haven’t seen you in a while. Let’s do a physical today. Depending on test results, I might send you to a cardiologist for an evaluation.”
Mom eyed me nervously. I patted her hand. “Mom, don’t worry. Whatever you need, I’ll take care of it. I’m here for you.”
Dear God, Keep watch over the vulnerable, and give their caregivers the strength and patience to care for them.