First Baptist Church of Rahway, 177 Elm Ave., Rahway, New Jersey 07065 is a multi-cultural congregation that has a Blended English Service on Sunday Mornings, a Latino Service at 12:00, and a Service in Telugu at 3:30PM. For more information, call (732) 388-8626. Or click here to send an email. If you wish to help the Mission and Ministry of First Baptist financially click the Donate Button.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Give Grandma Back
A nasty fact we learn in school is that we don’t learn if we don’t work. I especially learned this lesson in seminary where I had to work really hard to keep up. I had to read an excessive amount of church history. I was sneaking time at work and staying up at night just to keep up. That teacher challenged me unmercifully. But I got through it and I learned a lot. But it’s not just in the educational field that we need to be challenged, but also as people. When we are up to the challenges of life we grow as people and we become more caring and giving.
I met Mark in the hospital sitting with his Mom. Mark’s Mom had cancer and all of the available treatments were tried and given up. Mark had decided to take care of her until the end. He put his job aside, left his home and was taking care of his mom for as long as he had to. I was honored to spend some time with this man who was willing to give up so much to care for his mother.
His relatives were a different story. Mark’s mom had a sister and a brother. They spent as little time with their suffering sibling as possible. When it came to helping his mother, Mark was on his own. He also has a grandmother. Mark’s mom was caring for her mom, who also happened to be the mother of her two siblings. Quite a coincidence. When the primary care giver went down to illness guess who took over the cooking, cleaning, transportation, prescription needs of Grandma? You guessed it – Mark. Aunt and Uncle were too busy to help. Hard to believe they couldn’t help out their own Mom!
Mark talked to his Aunt and Uncle about their assuming responsibility for their mother. But they wouldn’t move on it. He then asked them for control of her assets so that he could use her money to pay for her care. This must have made them nervous because they did something unusual. They borrowed Grandma for a few days. While they took care of her they rummaged through Grandma’s house looking for things they wanted. I guess they were worried that Mark would take and sell precious family heirlooms – or whatever junk they thought was worth something. After they pilfered whatever they wanted, they tried to give Grandma back. They were in for a big surprise.
Mark gave them the keys to Grandma’s house and said – you have her money, her possessions, her house and now you have your Mom. I am going to take care of my Mom and you are going to take care of yours. And that was the last time I heard from him. I am sure he took good care of his Mom until she passed away. He was willing to give her everything. He was also willing to give to his Grandmother. But I think he gave a great deal to his Aunt and Uncle. I think that he gave them an opportunity.
I believe we all need to be challenged in order to learn how to be good people. Opportunities and challenges are presented all of the time to serve and care for other people. But most of us are not happy with the idea. Most of us don’t want to be put out. Let’s face it – I am lazy and I like to avoid as much responsibility as the next guy. I like to help out but I like to go fishing too.
I believe we need to be presented with a challenge to reach our potential as people who care. As a student in school is challenged to write a research paper, we need to be challenged to care for someone else. Those of us with children know that we will spend the rest of our lives with the challenge of caring for these special people. But all of us can be challenged to care for many of the people around us. Our parents – neighbors – friends. Everyone needs a helping hand at some point and we can be that.
Being challenged to serve someone is an opportunity to grow. I believe Mark helped his Aunt and Uncle by handing over responsibility for their Mom. I am sure that they didn’t like it. But they needed to own up to their responsibilities. Maybe they will learn and grow from this uncomfortable situation. Maybe they will gain something more than the family silverware. Maybe they will grow in love.