A different take on “new” for this week’s Photo Challenge:
When you have dementia or Alzheimer’s, what’s old is brand new. Every day is a new day, every experience is brand new.
Most of us are inclined to feel pity or sadness for people who live out their last days with such a diagnosis, but really, you’d have to see the brand new joy it to believe it…
My mother with dementia became utterly enamored with the wind-up cymbal-clashing chimp she “gave” her six-year-old grandson this Christmas – the very gift she gave to me when I was three.
She had forgotten what joy such a toy brought, and when he opened it, she latched on to it, began to talk to it and babied it, wound it up multiple times and clapped with delight!
(take note of the fruitcake she was enjoying at the time, a gift her brother sent her…he sent the rest of us “mixed nuts.” We tried unsuccessfully not to laugh at the subliminal parallels…)
Meanwhile, our fourteen year old son with Down syndrome had talked for over a month about wanting nothing but a baby for Christmas. At first we thought he was bluffing or we were misunderstanding his convoluted speech, which is still at an infantile level.
We thought he was over the “baby” phase years ago. But he wasn’t kidding (here, his six-year-old brother helped him unwrap his gift):
Again, what we thought was old or not age-appropriate, was brand new all over again – and brought new joys that we, in our worldly “wisdom,” never would have anticipated.
David was thrilled – and takes her everywhere he goes, is mindful to feed her when he eats, takes her to the potty when he goes, dresses her when he dresses, tucks her in when he is tucked in, and holds her hand together to pray when we pray. He makes for a very attentive daddy, despite his disabilities…
The lessons I learned from these who we might label as weak or incapable, were much larger than any lesson I myself could have taught.
The lessons being that
1.) It’s not up to us to judge what’s appropriate;
2.) You never know how something will affect or transform or touch another person; and
3.) What we consider old or outdated just may be the spark that someone else needs to embark on a brand new journey of joy.
Hey, God – thank You for an unimaginable 2014 and for the wonder that 2015 brings. Thank You for the blessings you brought, and for the unknown surprises You will bring us this year.
God, help us to have the courage to embrace things that are new – things that we didn’t see coming, things that may not match up to our idea of what’s right or appropriate or acceptable – help us to see that You operate out of the box more than any of us ever could.
Help us to be tolerant of new horizons, to be flexible and to face all things NEW without judgment, without fear and with curiosity and reverence, knowing that You just might be behind those things You have in store for us – that they are all part of the journey that hopefully brings us closer to You.