An elderly lady—let’s call her Mildred—sat in the very front pew right next to the power point projector. She did so because she was legally blind. Little did Mildred know that soon she would be leading the blind!
Here’s what happened. The presentation, led by one of Lutheran Family Service’s professional staff, was called, “The Other End of Life.” It focused on the theological and practical aspects of end of life issues. One of the practical aspects was showing compassion, letting people know they are cared for. It emphasized simple things that anyone can do, like visiting the home-bound and those in nursing homes.
Afterwards, Mildred spoke to the LFS presenter with tearful eyes saying, “I wish someone would visit me.” She wasn’t home-bound and did not reside in a nursing home. But she lived alone and struggled with loneliness. Loneliness does not play favorites but was particularly challenging for Mildred. As another blind person recently put it,
“When you are blind, silence is especially deafening because you don’t have the luxury of seeing what others are doing.”
When asked if she had ever shared her feelings of loneliness with her pastor, Mildred responded with the typical and humble, “Oh, I don’t want to bother him with it.” Just then her pastor came down the aisle. The LFS presenter said, “Let’s talk to him about it together.” As it turned out her pastor was “blind” too!
He was blind to her loneliness. Not that he was uncaring, he was just unaware. After all, she was in church every Sunday. He promised to visit her and to encourage others to do so as well. As an instrument in the hand of the “Healer of Blindness,” Mildred was now leading the blind! But it didn’t stop there.
Her pastor soon realized that there may be more in the congregation like Mildred, people whose loneliness was not apparent. He also concluded there were undoubtedly many more like him, who are blind to this loneliness. He sincerely promised to see what could be done to rectify the situation. The power of God was at work through a blind woman’s simple, honest, tearful question.
How about in your congregation? How about in your community? Is there such a need? Who is struggling with loneliness, but not asking for help? Take some time to think about it. Listen to Mildred. Let her and her Savior lead you to action.
For help dealing with lasting sadness or depression, call Lutheran Family Service at 515-251-4900 to schedule an appointment with an LFS counselor near you.