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And Then There is Dorothy

Welcome to My World

I am a patient at the Christian Rest Home. Back spasms and polymyalgia interfered with my independent living. Just as my parents did 50 years ago, I too now live here. It’s a loving, caring place to be, but living here is far different than being a visitor.

Perhaps the hardest hurdle is mingling with former friends and acquaintances who no longer remember me. They struggle with dementia. So many do. After weeks of asking God, “Why can’t they go home to be with you?” I found the answer in a most convincing way. One I must share with you.

Dorothy is a beautiful white-haired lady with a contagious smile. A former shoe store owner, she neither reads nor writes anymore but sits alone in her lovely room with her favorite doll cradled in her arms. The noise of the TV seems to comfort her.

After the evening meal, she sits in the dining room by herself. All the others are escorted back to their rooms. Not Dorothy. She is busy. Busy tearing up a religious periodical (this day) and placing the pieces in little piles on the table. She arranges and rearranges them, again and again, pushing her doll out of the way at regular intervals.

I’m watching the large TV, trying to concentrate on the news, yet I can’t help observing Dorothy out of the corner of my eye. Does she even know I’m here? She wriggles out of her wheelchair in an uncanny way, stands up rather bent over, and continues to rearrange.

Suddenly she picks up a 4-inch square of paper and, smiling as only she can, walks carefully toward me and hands it to me.

She startles me. Am I an old customer getting my change? Is she reliving her old life again? I accept it and she smiles broadly, slowly going back to the sorting table.

Again I say, “O Lord, why?”

I go back to my room, clutching the piece of paper. I look down and read this:

How about you? Do you wonder about the value of living in pain or as a feeble old person? God gave life in the first place, and only he knows when it should end. Leave that decision to him.

A coincidence? I think not. God answers our questions in strange but positive ways. I no longer ask, “Why, Lord?” I say, “Thank you, Lord” for the many Dorothys who live with me at this special place of mercy. Their patience inspires me. God is the ruler yet!


    Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

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