Nursing Home

Alone inside a barren room, a man
sat with his head cupped in his wrinkled hands.
The things he did, he now no longer can.
With lots of effort, possibly he stands.
When you saw him, his desolation spilled
and drenched you in a feeling of despair,
to think of days with lonely waiting filled,
and hungering for someone who would care.
You passed his room, and then you wondered where
the hell was God amidst this wretchedness,
this sterile place that looked so hard to bear,
where suffering could instantly depress.
Remembering that room, so sad and scary,
you wish that you had been God’s emissary.

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Mario A. Pita

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3 Responses to Nursing Home

  1. Well-said, Mario, and timely for me. Last night our church group went caroling and visited shut-ins and nursing homes. In one place, the residents were interacting with each other and the staff, and everyone was glad to see us. Some sang along. Others said, “God bless you,” as we gave hugs or handshakes. We arrived at the second nursing home between 5:30 and 6, and the door was locked. When we rang the bell, a woman sourly told us, “I’ve already put everyone to bed.” What a sad situation! May God help us to treat people of all ages and conditions with the respect and love they deserve in Jesus’ Name.

    • Thank you, Mary, for sharing your story. It so happens that this sonnet was written after a similar experience: singing with the choir in a nursing home. The “you” in the poem is actually me, speaking to myself, trying to make sense of the distressing experience. It led me to the conclusion that wherever we feel that God is absent, we are called to help bring a sense of His presence rather than simply despair and complain and look for proofs: we must ourselves strive toward being proof or evocations of Him.

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