Things Left Behind

On the day we closed the sale of our house a few years ago, I apologized to the buyers for the line of garbage bags at the street. Movers had loaded up the things we wanted to keep. We sold or gave away the things we no longer wanted, and the rest we placed at the curb in heavy-duty black garbage bags.

The same type of black garbage bags were used at a nursing home the state had forced to close. With only 24 hours to vacate, each senior’s belongings were placed into black garbage bags. Ambulances moved the residents, but the bags were mistaken as trash and hauled away. There is a stark contrast to the bags we had placed at the curb of the house we had sold and the bags belonging to the infirm seniors mentioned above. We left our trash behind, but they left everything they had.

A societal preoccupation with youth has unintentionally resulted in the shunning of the aged, especially those considered vulnerable and frail. One could say our national obsession with youth has all but abandoned our seniors, especially those in senior care communities and those who are shut-in. Aging doesn’t diminish ones desire for meaning, hope, and purpose. 

Some would say that a society could be judged by how it treats their most vulnerable. I fear where we are headed as a nation! We may not be able to turn back the clock or change direction, but we do have a choice. We can sit by and shake our head as a bystander, or we can do our part to show honor and love to seniors in our family and even those we meet along the way. A card, a note, a call, helping with an errand or a task, are just a few examples to make sure the seniors we know and meet are not among the things left behind.

Stan Means
Elder Source Senior Ministrie