The home health nurse whispered in my ear: “She doesn’t like wearing the oxygen…I think she is depressed about dying.”

                “Ms. M.” I turned to the patient, who was in her bed, just a few feet away, “Are you depressed about dying?”  The home health nurse stared at me like I was a brute.  I had opened the cage for the 100 pound gorilla to get into the room.  The patient looked into my eyes, as I sat down at the edge of the bed.

                “Is it wrong for me to pray for God to let me die?” The “D” word was out.  The 100 pound gorilla was running about the place.  She spoke with sincerity, her eyes reflecting the struggle that she was experiencing.

                                                Rise in the presence of the aged…

                Ms. M. is 96, alert, oriented, and quite perky.  She is also a bit weary.  She wants to be up and sell Avon products to dozens of her dedicated clients.  She wants to be up and socialize with folks in her residential home.  She wants to throw off the nasal cannula and the oxygen machine and be free from the tether.

                                                Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly…

                “ Ms. M., you are a citizen of heaven, this world is not your home.  You are an adopted daughter of God, this world is not your home.  You were created for unbroken fellowship with Jesus Christ, this world is not your home.  Home is where you belong.  It is right for you to long for home.”

                                                Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly, and revere your God.  I am the Lord.  (Lev 19:32)

                “What is that verse you told me?”  She asked.

                “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  Philippians 1:21.”

                “That’s the one.  I like that…” She thought for a moment.  “Can I take off this oxygen?  I hate being in this bed all day.”

                I took the nasal cannula out of her nose.  “How about just using the oxygen when you’re in bed for sleep?”

                “I like that idea.”  Her smile was impy and big and real. 

                The 100 pound gorilla sat in the corner and went to sleep.  He was played out. 

                Rise.  Respect.  Revere. 

                (give the gorilla a good slap-down)

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