It has finally reached the date, February 20th, for the #1000 Voices Speak for Compassion. It's been on Facebook continually, and some have already addressed it in the blogs. Here is my voice for compassion.
Several months ago, our church agreed to take on a program sponsored by our local council on poverty and needs. This program was to go beyond the delivery of Meals on Wheels on the weekdays to delivering meals to the home bound on a Sunday at noon, and taking some time to visit with the client. My hubby and I signed up to do deliveries, one Sunday a month.
Our client was "Joe". Joe has a debilitating muscle disorder that has become progressively worse over a 20+ year span, and he is only in his early fifties. He is confined to a wheel chair with his legs useless and his hands and arms only partially useful. Our first meeting with Joe was a little uncomfortable. We weren't sure how much we needed to help him with the food we were bringing, but he was very understanding and let us know what we needed to do. An engineer friend had designed a portable table for him to use from his wheelchair. He directed us to an apron to put on him, so that his dinner didn't end up on his clothes. His struggle to stay in his home and remain independent is very inspirational.
Over time, Joe and my husband and I have become friends. We take his meal to him on our designated Sunday. I have become more comfortable helping him cut up his food, arranging things for his use, and enjoying our conversations. He recently asked us to stop to pick up food for ourselves so we could eat as a threesome. We hold his crippled hands as we offer a prayer before eating.
We don't know how long Joe will be able to stay in his home independently. He now has a fellow living with him who helps him dress in the morning and get ready for bed at night in exchange for a place to live. Another person cleans his house and makes sure his laundry is done. His sister lives nearby and stops to check up on him and his helpers, making lists of things that need to be done.
Joe's mind is sharp and he lives in a world of confinement, enjoying a chance to visit with folks who can ignore his disability and enjoy his conversation. Our hearts are full with our friendship with Joe.