My friend Marv, whom I have been visiting in a nursing home every Saturday for the past five years, has had muscular dystrophy for the past twenty years and is nearing his final days. For the past nine weeks, his muscular dystrophy has taken second place to back pain so excruciating that one Saturday morning he told his nurse’s aide that he thought this was his last day on earth.
“Why,” I asked God, “have You allowed this back pain to make his life even more miserable than it already is? Why can’t You do something for him?” However it happens, I heard a still, small voice within me that said, “I have given you to him and him to you.” I was humbled.
Marv has now legally appointed me to speak for him to the care center he lives in and to all medical personnel inside and outside the care center. As his advocate, doing what he does not have the energy or ability to do, I advanced his cause until finally he was referred to a pain clinic that is looking into the cause of the pain and how to treat it, in contrast to what had been happening – giving him more and more pain medication, which was not working.
Lest you think for even one second what a wonderful fellow I am, let me assure you I am not. This was God’s work. If I told you all the circumstances that led me to be “assigned” to Marv five years ago, you would understand. You see, a servant deserves no credit for doing what he was directed to do. All the credit goes to the Master.
When I started visiting Marv, I was in major depression. Focusing on his needs instead of my own was one of the tools in my toolbox that helped pull me out of depression.