The entry door at the adult semi-care facility opened easily. Clearly someone had designed this complex with professional skill. Everything looked new, maintained well and there were plenty of people and activities going on around me.
Our host waved us down. With a broad smile she walked with us to the cafeteria where the fragrances were very appealing. She seated us and the chaplain joined us with enthusiasm.
The menu for the dinner was like a restaurant. We made our choices when the waitress came up to take our order. Pleasant conversation followed and continued through dinner.
On our way to the chapel the chaplain introduced us to several of the residents. We enjoyed their cheerful fellowship. They followed us to the chapel.
I preached for those who had gathered. Their response was full of gratitude. Some walked out with energy. Others a lot slower.
We paused when several took turns to tell how much they appreciated that we had come. Often they told us how much they appreciate their new home. They point to the activities, food but most of all the company of others.
Not everyone was so high on the company. One elderly woman was alone. She and I struck up a conversation.
She reflected deeply early in our first meeting. Maybe she knew that it would our only one and it would be over soon. Experience was her teacher and she lived by the lessons that she had learned.
Her children were scattered around the country. They had to move in order to chase the jobs that would advance their careers and give them the resources to support their families. She was not regretful, just realistic about those currents of life in the modern culture.
Yes, she was very grateful for this fine facility to live from day-to-day. But, she sighed, it was hard to have her friends regularly die off. Each farewell made her sad that all she had left with so many of those who were once close were now just fading memories.
Loneliness is a tough nut to crack. Family helps but that is only a limited solution. Who wants to be a downer for their kids?
But, we can live full and rich lives while we can. Build into friends and pass on what we have discovered to make life worth living to the younger generation. Pour into others and that may be the best anti-loneliness investment ever.