One nursing home I visit has as one of its resident's a retired Clergyperson of his Denominational Church.
He built his life around his family, his faith, and country.
At the twilight of his journey in this life, he misses access to simple things that sustained his spirit all his days.
I made arrangements with a retired Pastor in his denomination to bring him Communion on Sundays, after she attends services at her Congregation.
I worked with his family, who are all over the map, to insure he gets a funeral when the time comes of his own denominational type.
In the next to last time I visited him, I asked what he needed. Chaplains ask that question frequently. Its the only way to know how to really help someone. We are Chaplains, not mind readers.
One joy of working with people whose options and time are limited is that they don't play mind games. If you ask them a direct clear question, you will get an honest and complete response.
He requested two things.
The first is access to a journal published by his denomination. I looked into it. The journal is set up to mass distribute its periodic copies through Congregations of its faith. It is not for sale to individuals.
The problem is that the Congregation he served for many decades no longer has anyone in it who knows him. His Pastor retired. All his friends are either deceased, retired, moved away, or also in nursing homes.
I wrote to the Journal-Editor-in-Chief directly. I made my case, and offered to pay any cost to get him access to this fine devotional periodical literature. It will keep him connected, and bring him joy. To their credit. they waved all charges, fees, and put him on their mailing list. He now will for life get the newest copy of this journal sent directly to his nursing home. Outstanding!
The other favor was to bring him a Black Forest Ham sandwich on multigrain bread, with various toppings and horseradish sauce. Believe it or not, almost all nursing home residents are not there for the institutional food.
He always delighted in this delectable luncheon treat. They don't serve it.
I cleared all this with his dietician and case worker. The sandwich is available through a subterranean sandwich franchise. I also brought his a fresh navel orange, a side of German potato salad with dill and bacon bits, and packets of dark roast coffee. You can get hot water on-site. For dessert, I got an individual sized slice of seven layer German Chocolate Torte with glazed fruit on top.
We watched a basketball game as we dined in his room. After I cleared away the table, we sipped coffee and chatted, as we are used to doing when we visit.
Just before we got him into pajamas and bed, he smiled and said, "That sandwich reminds me of many a good time past. How blessed I have been and am".
It is often the simplest things in life that remind of the good gifts we have.
It is also a reminder to those of us who are still mobile, healthy, and active that the good gifts of life are not to be taken for granted. When we witness those who appear to have every right to be depressed over what they no longer have, but still practice their religion out of gratitude for what they do it should inspire us to keep positive in our perspectives.
It also might help us to best serve G-d by serving any and all of His children whenever they need and/or want us to do so.
Religion out of gratitude never gets old, even when we do.