One of my activities this past Sunday was a visit to my 95 year old mother-in-law in the nursing home where she has been living for close to 3 years. Dementia had started setting in several years ago and had been progressing very slowly until Mom fell and broke her left hip at age 92 ½. The dementia accelerated at that time to the point that she was not able to learn to walk again. Her mind just would not allow her to realize she needed to put the right kind of effort into walking and many other things. Now her life is spent in a wheelchair for the most part. A blessing is that she still is able to see quite well, her hearing is excellent, and in general she has very good health.
Mom has always enjoyed music. Over the years, if she was feeling down, all we would have to do is put on some upbeat music. Soon she would be tapping her feet and when she was still mobile, she would be dancing around. During activities time at the nursing home she still enjoys lively music by tapping her feet, swaying her body, nodding her head, or clapping her hands and smiling the whole time.
Last week on a previous visit, I made the decision to take my guitar with me even though I really do not know how to play it. In Mom’s younger years she was able to play a few chords and strum to simple tunes. I’ve been trying to learn a little picking by studying a beginner’s book. I had tuned the guitar at home to our piano so I thought I shouldn’t have to re-tune it when I got to the nursing home. Wrong! It was out of tune so I proceeded to try to tune it by using the 5th fret method. E – A – D – G …… Mom quickly said “that’s not right” – her good ear for music is still in tune. I kept trying and trying. Never could get the G tuned to Mom’s satisfaction. After about 30 minutes – I told her I would have to bring my guitar again after I studied a little more about how to tune it to itself. When I left that day, I was committed to do better the next time after practicing more at home.
Sunday afternoon I showed up in Mom’s room with my guitar. She was happy to see me. I got the guitar out of the case, strummed through the strings. Mom looked pleased and said “That’s right”. My tuning from home had held — I was happy she was pleased. It even seemed that she had remembered my problem tuning a few days earlier. I slowly picked out the melody of a few familiar tunes from my beginning guitar book singing & humming along with them although the book did not have the words. Mom would immediately sing and hum along with me as I played through my short repertoire.
I encouraged Mom to hold the guitar and try to strum some chords but it seemed a little too difficult for her to adjust to how she would have to hold it while sitting in her wheelchair so I told that was ok. She kept saying “I wish I would have kept playing the guitar and the piano. I’ve just forgotten all I once knew. I used to be able to play the piano pretty good.” I agreed with her and told her that at least she can still enjoy listening to music.
As I am blogging about this I am thinking about the importance of continuing to use our gifts and talents. They are a gift from God to be used to bring joy to ourselves and others. I am so thankful for the gift of music even in its simplest form and that I was able to bring a few moments of joy to Mom this past Sunday afternoon.
What simple thing have you recently done that brought joy to someone's life? Share with me in the comment section below.
Joy, Music, and Blessings to You
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Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
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