I am sitting at a table across from my friend, listening to him tell of his life and his loneliness in old age. His wife died a few years ago after more than forty years of marriage. He is still grieving, and loneliness brings tears into his eyes.
My friend’s home is on a beautiful spot by a large lake. There are no neighbors in the winter, so nobody will drop in for a chat. Old age has brought bodily pains which make it difficult for him to leave home. To get to services he would need to drive ten kilometers, and it is not easy for him to get out in his car either. He does not mind living by himself, but it is hard to be always alone.
The winter seems long, but the summer brings people to the nearby cottages. Summer visitors sometimes pop over to see my friend. These visits are like bright sunrays in his grey everyday life. He reminisces about these visits for a long time afterwards. It is easy to understand their value when I see his eyes light up and hear him return over and over again to these precious moments.
When I sit there and listen, I feel I am learning something important. I know there are many old people around us who find it difficult to get to services and other events in the way they used to. How many of them live alone, isolated by their illnesses and pains, unable to take daily company for granted?
Would it be possible at each rauhanyhdistys to locate the seniors no longer able to move around independently and to arrange rides to services for them? Could congregations make their senior friendship service available even more widely. And most importantly, could each of us lift our gaze from our daily routines and think about the elders who live close to us. What could you and I do to help those who are older than we are?
If only we could always bear in mind the Golden Rule of the Bible: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them” (Matt. 7:12).
The blog post was published in online Päivämies on 8 Jun. 2015.
Poikkeusolojen vuoksi radion ja netin välityksellä lähetetyt Suviseurat saivat kuulijoiden palautteen perusteella positiivisen vastaanoton. Historiallisten Suviseurojen järjestelyt sujuivat suunnitelmien mukaisesti, eikä suurempia häiriöitä ilmennyt. Seurojen keskeinen sanoma välittyi kaikkialle maailmaan ja seurapuheet käännettiin yhdeksälle kielelle.