The Hula Dancer

July 21, 1998

1 Peter 5:1,5 – The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed. Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility; for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

During the half hours that it took my dad to take his medicine by machine, I'd wander down to the dining room of the care home and visit with the other residents. I knew most of them from my youth; some were friends; some, parents of friends; some, old high school teachers and some, I had just met. What a wealth of knowledge they shared!

Many's the evening when the beautiful strains of an old violin would waft throughout the halls, it's master tossed back to a time when country music and barn dances were the thing to do on a Saturday night. Sometimes, a hymn would hover across its strings.

One night when I was visiting, however, the dear old gent came rolling into the dining room on his scooter, full of excitement. Someone had sent him a present, and he wanted us to see it. He opened the box, took it out, set it on the table, turned it on and grinned from ear to ear. A lovely hula dancer swayed to the sounds of "Aloha" and "Tiny Bubbles". The old gent looked at me and said with a proud, but wistful smile, "She's my new companion!". Another old soul I was sitting with muttered "Crazy old fool."

To some, the hula doll may have seemed to be rather tacky, and the attachment the gent formed, to be leaning towards senility, but he told me later that he had been to Hawaii once and knew he would never go again. The doll was from his daughter whom he'd asked to "bring back a bit of Hawaii" for him. Forever after, when he wasn't in his room fiddling on his violin, his hula dancer accompanied him in his scooter in the halls.

Our elders are one of our greatest resources. They have evolved as one of God's greatest gifts to us. Accept their idiosyncrasies, for there's usually more to them than meets the eye. We must take the time to listen to what they have to say, for one day with the grace of God, we too, shall be the elders.

Prayer: Dear Lord, we thank you for the elderly, for their knowledge, their love, and their readiness to share. May we be mindful of accepting all they have to offer. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Mary Daniel <marydee@shaw.ca>
Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada

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