Friends and Caregivers Archives 2013

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  • A Time to Talk (poem) by Robert Frost
  • Mending Wall (poem) by Robert Frost 
  • Please Listen
  • Honoring Parents in Their Old Age by Rick Liggin 
  • Bible Verses for Caregivers
  • Online Comments on Friendship from Chronically Ill
  • A Young Man Learns What's Important in Life From the Guy Next door




A Time to Talk

By Robert Frost

When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don't stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven't hoed,
And shout from where I am, What is it?
No, not as there is a time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.



Mending Wall
by Robert Frost 

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
'Stay where you are until our backs are turned!'
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors'.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows?
But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.' I could say 'Elves' to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me~
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."




              Please Listen

When I ask you to listen to me
and you start giving me advice,
you have not done what I asked.
When I ask you to listen to me
and you begin to tell me why
I shouldn't feel that way,
you are trampling on my feelings.
When I ask you to listen to me
and you feel you have to do something
to solve my problem,
you have failed me,
strange as that my seem.
Listen! All I ask is that you listen.
Don't talk or do - just hear me.

Please Listen

When I ask you to listen to me and you start giving advice, you have not done what I asked.

When I ask you to listen to me and you begin to tell me why I shouldn't feel the way I do, you are trampling on my feelings.

When I ask you to listen to me and you feel you have to do or say something to solve my problem, you have failed me... strange as that may seem.

When I am feeling angry, depressed, worried, or discouraged let me express my feelings while you simply listen and care. Do not try to change my feelings.

You may feel uncomfortable in the presence of my pain, but please just be there with me. I'm uncomfortable too.

When you try and distract me with humor or premature optimism, I start to feel ashamed of my negative feelings, as if thy are unimportant or a sign of weakness on my part.

You do not need to tell me if you feel my pain and understand what I am feeling. I will be able to see that I your eyes.

Trying to tell me when I do not see it in your eyes will only assure me that you really do not understand.

Let me be weak or angry. I am struggling with pain and I need support... not advice.

Do not appear impatient or disinterested. This just compounds the pain and makes me doubt myself even more.

When you reject my emotions as unimportant, harmful or even unspiritual, this merely adds to my feelings of isolation and failure.

When you listen to my pain and frustration with tender-hearted compassion it strengthens my faith more than quoting a million Bible verses would do. I know the spiritual truths already, that God cares and will guide me.

I need to experience God's love and compassion through your caring and listening and ministry of presence.

I need God, in your flesh, to hug me, cry with me, and assure me of your concern, love, and support.

I do need your prayers for me and with me, but to be there with me is the best answer to prayer.

I do not need professionalism... I need a friend. Do not try to help me analyze my feelings and understand why I am feeling them.

Do not reassure me by using clichés such as, "Time will heal all things," or "God is in control." I know thee things, but at the moment I need to express my pain and hurt to someone who cares that I hurt. The truths that I already know will surface later when the raging emotions are calmed.

Be a help to me in the storm, even when you would rather not enter into the pain with me. Often the feelings of rejection and loneliness are the most painful of all the feelings I have.

When you accept as a simple fact that I do feel what I feel, no matter how irrational it may seem, then I can quit trying to convince you and can get about the business of understanding what's behind my pain. When that is clear, the answers will be obvious and I can move beyond the anguish.

So, please listen and just hear me. And when you find yourself in pain, please let me be your friend, and listen to you, for I have learned just how important listening really is.

-author unknown



 Honoring Parents In Their Old Age

Rick Liggin



By now, most of you will have *probably already heard about the passing of Fred E. Pollock on Friday, December 10, 2011 at the age of eighty-five. Fred was a well-known, well-respected, and deeply devoted disciple of Christ, who spent his entire adult life in the service of our King. It was our privilege at the Paris Avenue church in Peoria, Illinois, to have Fred and his beloved wife Fran living among us for the last few years of his life. We were able to watch this man of moral courage and spiritual strength face down his last enemy, death, and gain the victory though Jesus Christ our Lord. And let me tell you, as one who watched it personally, it was an inspiring thing to see.

My one regret for the church here is that we didn’t really get to know Fred before his illness. You see, in 2008, when the Pollock’s daughter, Mary Ann Grant, with her husband Bill, moved the older couple to live with them here in our area, Fred was already sick with Parkinson’s and Lewy Body disease. His motor skills were already greatly diminished by his illness, and soon his cognitive abilities would be affected. That meant that we were only able to know Fred as a man who was physically ill, and not as the extremely capable man he had been all of his life.  

We didn’t get to know the man who was a chemical engineer with Proctor and Gamble; or the man who served on the board of directors at both Florida College and Guardian of Truth Foundation; or the man who was an elder for many years in at least two separate local churches. We didn’t get to know the man who, together with his talented wife, taught marriage enrichment classes in congregations everywhere. I regret that this church didn’t get to know that Fred Pollock…a man whose life of service was so apparent to all around him.

But this article isn’t really about what we didn’t get to see at Paris Avenue. Instead, it is about what we did get to see. And it’s not really so much about Fred Pollock and his sweet wife Mary Frances. It’s really about his daughter Mary Ann Grant and her husband Bill (one of our elders), who showed us how to honor our parents…even in their old age. The Bible clearly teaches us all to honor our parents (Ephesians 6:2; cf. Exodus 20:12), but what does that look like...especially when our parents are old? Let me try to help you with that by pointing to what we witnessed at Paris Avenue. Please understand that I do not want in any way to take away from how Fred and Fran’s other children and grand children honored their parents. I just want to tell you about what we saw at Paris Avenue and how it stands as an example to all of us as we help our parents in their old age. 

It was amazing to watch Mary Ann and Bill as they served Fred and Fran. Always acting in Fred and Fran’s best interest, Mary Ann and Bill did what ever it took to give their parents what they needed. At great personal expense, they brought their old, sick parents into their own home to live with them and to provide their care (Mark 7:9-13). They sacrificed so much…their social life, their finances, their energy, and their own health…just to do what was clearly a labor of love. Kevin and Emmy, the Grants only two children left at home, also made sacrifices…especially in terms of their parents’ time and attention; yet they did it without complaint.

Both at home and in public, Mary Ann and Bill always treated Fred and Fran with the utmost dignity and respect. They were always tender, always loving, and always patient…even when it must have been very hard to do so. I never heard Mary Ann or Bill speak a disrespectful word to either Fred or Fran. Even when their mental capabilities and communication skills became severely inhibited, Mary Ann and Bill were still kind, still patient, and still respectful. I can still hear Mary Ann sweetly speaking to her mother, whose severe dementia keeps her in the same conversation over and over again; and I can still see her waiting ever so patiently for her dad to say what was clearly on his mind but so far from his uncooperative tongue. And it was so sweet to see them at church services, helping Fred and Fran to their seats, or with their coats, or with their song books. And it didn’t matter what mishap may have occurred, there was no embarrassment or apology; just respect and dignity and kindness.

The day Fred died I was able to be there with the family; and maybe one of the more respectful and loving things that I ever saw was how Mary Ann patiently helped her mother understand that “daddy was gone.” Fran’s short term memory is so limited by her dementia that even taking a short nap means she wakes up with little or no memory of what happened before. When the funeral home finally came to take Fred’s body, Fran had been sleeping. She awoke with no memory of Fred’s death, and so wanted to know where he was. I can still see Mary Ann as she crawled on to the bed beside her mother, and once again, holding her mother close, helped Fran understand that “daddy was gone.” She spoke to her mother with the same kindness and compassion that she had already used when her father first passed. It was heartbreaking on one hand; but on the other, it was so rich and so good. I can only pray that our children will honor Candy and me with the same kind of respect and dignity.

We may grow up and our parents may grow older, but there will never come a time when our duty to honor them will be relieved. Only when we have finally given them back to God will our responsibility to honor and respect them be complete…and then, we must continue to honor their memory. Yes, those of us here at Paris Avenue may have missed out on a valuable opportunity to witness the life of a great man who devotedly served the Lord. But I believe that in the end, we gained an opportunity of equal value! We got to see what it really means to honor your father and mother.



Bible Verses for Caregivers

1 John 3:17 - Love of God

But whoever has the world's goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?

Philippians 2:4 - Others Minded

do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

Galatians 6:10 - Do Good to All

So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

Matthew 5:13-16 - Salt and Light

"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. "Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

1 Peter 5:7 - God Cares for You!

casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.

Hebrews 6:10 - God does not overlook the work you do

For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.

Galatians 6:2 Bearing the Burdens of Others

Bear one another's burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.

John 13:34-35 - All about Love

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

Luke 10:30-35 - An example of caring

Jesus replied and said, "A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho; and he fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went off leaving him half dead. "And by chance a certain priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. "And likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. "But a certain Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him, and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. "And on the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return, I will repay you.'

Matthew 25:35-40 -
Words of Jesus

'For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.' "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You drink? 'And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 'And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' "And the King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'

compiled by Josh Wiley via Yahoo Voices


Some Online Thoughts on Friendship From Chronically Ill 

 "A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out."

And then there are those rare jewels. Ah, what treasure! Those precious few, whether old friends or new, who accept us exactly as we are. Of those who have never known me healthy, but who offered true friendship, their only question has been “Will you help me understand what you need?” They are/were precious few indeed, but all the more precious for being so few.  -CFIDS

What I once thought was a very large circle of friends has become much smaller over the past seven years. But those that remain are those that keep me going. Here's a great example: One of my friends, after hearing of my diagnosis, went out and purchased a book about Sjogren's Syndrome. She gave it to me only after reading it all herself. Her gesture told me volumes about the sincerity of our friendship. -Sjogren's Syndrome

In prosperity, our friends know us; in adversity, we know our friends

In time of prosperity friends will be plenty; In time of adversity not one in twenty ~

Sometimes I feel like I'm outside the one-way mirror of a police station interrogation room, looking in on the members of the healthy world but not seen, beating on the glass and screaming to be heard; other times I feel that they're on the outside, with me trapped in that room unable to leave. In any event, I've seen countless friends "peel" away slowly during my 12+ years of illness, like artichoke leaves falling away one by one, leaving only a small—if sweet and solid—core (the heart). -CFIDS

On one occasion, when I wasn't feeling up to doing activities that the rest of the group wanted to do, and told them all to go along without me it was fine, one friend said to another (I wasn't supposed to hear, but walked in and DID hear) "I really think she's faking this to get attention because it always has to be about her. She doesn't LOOK sick or anything". That just about killed me. So now I only have a few friends that care enough and understand that even if I don't seem sick by what normal sick looks like, if I say I am, I am, and they will be by my side to support me. -autoimmune disease

And they don't get the "chronic" part. The up's and down's are more than they signed up for in the friend dept. I always love the "you don't look sick" part. A real friend knows how long it took you to "not look sick" on the days when you venture out in public. My real friends can look at me an know if I am having a good day or a bad day and stick with me for both. Friends, we need them and we need to be them.

"If I had to sum up Friendship in one word, it would be Comfort."

The thing I find most frustrating is the fact my friends never seem to understand that I don't want to stay at home all the time either. It's hard not to get upset when they keep pestering me to go out and I hate to use my condition as an excuse. Fatigue is the hardest symptom because, unless you have suffered from it, I think people find it difficult to imagine tiredness to be so debilitating.

Some family members and friends will never be able to accept your limitations, and this may require you to stretch and strengthen your forgiveness and compassion muscles. Just as you must accept your limitations, you will also have to accept the limitations of others. I have a rule I live by when it comes to this – Don’t expect something from someone that they will never be able to give you. Forgive and move past it because the only person your anger and resentment is hurting is you. -Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy/Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Friends are like walls. Sometimes you lean on them, and sometimes it's good just knowing they are there.


 A young man learns what's most important in life from the guy next door.

Over the phone, his mother told him, "Mr. Belser died last night. The funeral is Wednesday." Memories flashed .

"You know, Jack, after your father died, Mr. Belser stepped in to makesure you had a man's influence in your life," she said.

"He's the one who taught me carpentry," he said. "I wouldn't be in thisbusiness if it weren't for him. He spent a lot of time teaching me things hethought were important. Mom, I'll be there for the funeral," Jack said.

As busy as he was, he kept his word. Jack caught the next flight to hishometown. Mr. Belser's funeral was small and uneventful. He had no children
of his own, and most of his relatives had passed away.

The night before he had to return home, Jack and his Mom stopped by to seethe old house next door one more time.

Standing in the doorway, Jack paused for a moment. It was like crossingover into another dimension, a leap through space and time The house was exactly as he remembered. Every step held memories. Every picture, everypiece of furniture. Jack stopped suddenly...

"What's wrong, Jack?" his Mom asked.

"The box is gone," he said

"What box?" Mom asked.

"There was a small gold box that he kept locked on top of his desk. I must have asked him a thousand times what was inside. All he'd ever tell me was
'the thing I value most,'" Jack said.

It was gone. Everything about the house was exactly how Jack rememberedit, except for the box. He figured someone from the Belser family had takenit.

"Now I'll never know what was so valuable to him," Jack said. "I betterget some sleep. I have an early flight home, Mom."

It had been about two weeks since Mr. Belser died. Returning home from work one day Jack discovered a note in his mailbox. "Signature required on apackage. No one at home. Please stop by the main post office within the nextthree days," the note read. Early the next day Jack retrieved the package.The small box was old and looked like it had been mailed a hundred yearsago. The handwriting was difficult to read, but the return address caughthis attention. "Mr. Harold Belser" it read. Jack took the box out to his car and ripped open the package. There inside was the gold box and an envelope. Jack's hands shook as he read the note inside.

"Upon my death, please forward this box and its contents to Jack Bennett.It's the thing I valued most in my life." A small key was taped to theletter. His heart racing, as tears filling his eyes, Jack carefully unlocked the box. There inside he found a beautiful gold pocket watch.

Running his fingers slowly over the finely etched casing, he unlatched thecover. Inside he found these words engraved:

"Jack, Thanks for your time! -Harold Belser."

"The thing he valued most was... my time"

Jack held the watch for a few minutes, then called his office and clearedhis appointments for the next two days. "Why?" Janet, his assistant asked.

"I need some time to spend with my son," he said.

"Oh, by the way, Janet, thanks for your time!"

contributed by Rebecca Romano


November 2017