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Musings from Behind the Couch

Grimm's Musings: The Ignored

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H.R. Grimm is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or

February 8, 2016 | 824 views | Post a comment

(An Aging Grimm Pastoral Note):

During my twenties and thirties I worked as a utilities meter reader while earning my education. As I expanded my educational pursuits I moved to different States and was able to work for three different utility companies. Many of the older homes had the meters in the basement which allowed the customers and I brief chats. In the course of our conversations we would talk about raising small children, where they and I were from and my course of studies. A number of older customers seemed to enjoy our brief encounters even though they knew my "visit" would be followed by the utility bill. There were a number of conversations about retirement and tax burdens, health issues and insurance costs, utility rates and a few words of encouragement either from them to me or from me to them. While our brief conversations about health, family and faith issues wasn't my "job" yet as we talked over the months I got the feeling I was the only "pastoral" visitor they received on any regular basis.

Many shared how age and physical limitations kept them from attending their church as they had in the distant past. They stated that as the years passed so did many of the people they knew as their fellow worshippers. Ministers came and went which meant that with the pastoral changes they didn't know the new minister or the ministers them. They shared how they still had faith in God but felt ignored by the church as now they were left out; out of sight, out of mind. The harsh reality was that the very church that they faithfully attended now seemed to have little time to minister to them.

The reality is that aging, pains and physical limitations keep so many of the elderly from faithfully attending or participating as they had in their younger and healthier years. Of course, income is drastically reduced in retirement and much of their "disposable income" goes for prescriptions and medical expenses. They cannot financially give as they once did or attend and nobody seems to care about them. Hopefully, not being able to give more than a "widow's mite" isn't the reason this population is seemingly forgotten by their church's mission.

Maybe there were deeper reasons they felt ignored or abandoned by their church. Maybe this stuck with me over these many years because my own dear Mother always prayed for "the missionaries, the poor people, the shut-ins and those in sorrow." Maybe it was because she visited nursing homes and had the God-given gift to write encouraging letters. Maybe it's because I am frustrated with my own current aging pains and physical limitations. Maybe it's because my own mind tells me I "should and ought" to be more involved while my body screams for a comfortable place to sit. Maybe it's a combination of all of these.

The harsh reality is that shut-ins may be the most forgotten outcasts in our culture today. In this high tech culture the human element is still a vital part of the whole ministry of the Church.

It's just a Grimm thought..." (hrg)
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