(Page 3 of 15)
My hubbie and I have been bringing communion to the sick for well over ten years now. We started when our girl (now 13) was just a few months old and our son (now 18) was just getting ready to receive his first communion (we’re Catholic).
It was a bit of a hardship for me at times because I had the two kids and a full time job as trial lawyer for a local public entity. However, the benefits were mine more than those we served IMHO.p>My two children would accompany us as we would visit people who were in convalescent homes. We also visited some being cared for in their homes. Sometimes, my husband would actually get my daughter to sing a hymn for them during holiday times. Mostly elderly, these folks adored seeing our little ones. However, our kids learned about the cycles and fragility and value of life. They would occasionally learn of the death of some of those we visited and weep. My mother (70 something) told me a few years ago, when my daughter was around 9 or so, that my daughter said to her “grandma when you get old, don’t worry, I am going to take care of you.” I would also marvel at the bravery and selflessness of those I visited who were fighting illnesses and caring for gravely ill or handicapped . I realized then that I was the one who was really benefiting from this ministry as much if not more than those I “served.” I related this as past tense because this summer, for the first time ever, I put our name on the “substitute only” list because of our commitments to kids and jobs. br> — Name withheld br> P.S. both kids are members of SAG and fans of Ben’s cable show Beat Ben Stein . /p>
Ben Stein did his usual great job of writing a column, this time about the lonely and the solitary. He mentions most groups — war widows and widowers, and people in long marriages who one day come home alone from the hospital or wherever — like my old, sainted Mum, for instance. There is one group he left out, however — the men and women whom nobody especially wanted anyway, and who spend their entire lives more or less alone.
This group is mostly ignored, except as figures of fun. I have lost track of the number of times in our culture — or others — that the “losers” are made fun of, or sneered at. Check out the average movie or TV show now — there is often at least one character set aside to be dumped on by the others, and humiliated, and have his life made even worse than others, while the audience roars with laughter.
It’s not precisely new — the Victorians had old maid “humor.” It was thought funny to mail them bottles of hair dye or wooden wedding rings or nasty valentines, for instance. Or think of Malvolio in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night — all the “in” crowd of attractive and popular people get paired off at the end, with the final scene being a very public humiliation of Malvolio who was hoaxed into thinking the princess wanted him.p>Still, our modern pop culture must be the worst at this, as in so many other things. The whole sorting-out process that takes place each generation among men and women would be a dangerous enough and heart-breaking enough scene even in the healthiest of societies. There will always be those who lose out. In a sicko society like ours, however, you get what we have got — ever more vicious and arrogant winners, and ever more twisted and embittered losers.