The flight was full, but there was still one seat open between me and the guy who sat in the isle seat. I knew the empty seat would soon be filled and wondered who it would be. Shame on me, but I am usually not one to strike up conversations. As soon as I could I took out my laptop and made some finishing touches on something I started earlier. The guy that had taken the seat next to me remained silent as well, until the flight attendant forgot to bring me my Diet Coke. When the attendant came back, he took it upon himself to help me get my drink and then he began asking questions, questions that would lead to a very profound conclusion!
The questions lead to me relaying a quote from Mother Teresa I had discovered years ago. After visiting a nursing home in the United States she said she saw on the faces of the senior residents a “poverty of loneness” worse than she saw on the faces of the homeless in the streets of Calcutta. Mr. Sharma, the passenger next to me, a Native of India, relayed that he had spent some time with Mother Teresa many years ago in 1976. He told me that the church did not initially share her concern for the homeless, but she would not be deterred. The conflict caused a brief separation between her and the Church as she undauntedly continued to do what God had called her to do. She and the Church were reconciled, and they were a huge help in what became her life’s work.
I didn’t know that intriguing part of her life’s story. Mr. Sharma said it is not well known. I immediately told him that America needs a Mother Teresa for the seniors! Society and the church need a powerful reminder of our God given duty not to leave anyone behind. I am sure Mother Theresa did her best at great personal sacrifice to make sure those God gave her were not neglected intentionally or unintentionally, but there is no people group so intentionally neglected by society and the American church as the aged – especially the most infirm of the aged.
May God give us not one Mother Teresa, but many – more than can be counted. May it be known that America honors and respects all regardless of age, and may the church take the lead!
Elder Source Senior Ministries