A gentle old soul walked into the shop the other day and called out, “Is anybody at home”. I looked up to see a precious friend of mine and almost everyone in the community. I asked, “can I help you?” By the way he answered, I recognized he was lost in the fog of Alzheimer’s disease. He told me he was looking for his wife and I knew she was probably frantically looking for him.
Putting my hand on his shoulder, I walked with him to where his family was. As he shuffled along he talked about things that only he understood. He kept telling me he had something for me and that he was going to take care of me. I wish I could have made him understand that truly he was giving me something very precious. You see, Alzheimer’s had taken my daddy and as I walked with this gentle old soul, I felt as if I was walking with my own daddy once again.
In Genesis there is a story of a man named Enoch. The story goes that Enoch walked with God everyday. But one day Enoch could not be found, because that day God took him home to heaven. Now I think that like Enoch, those who suffer from Alzheimer’s walk close to God in ways you and I cannot understand. As these gentle old souls shuffle along on their last journey, I think that God walks with them. He listens to their jumbled words and untangles their confused thoughts. Then one day they are no longer here, their journey has ended. God has taken them home.
These gentle old souls with Alzheimer’s have much to give as they walk their last mile. It is easy for us who are mere mortals to be impatient and misunderstanding in their presence. But if we listen to their rambling stories, we might hear a conversation with God. If we put a hand on their shoulder and walk with them, we might find ourselves walking with The Father. Myself, I truly believe that God sent this gentle old soul into the shop the other day so I could walk with my daddy one more time.
Douglas & Deborah Huff
Pavement Ends Ministry