Every Wednesday morning I work at a 90 year old man’s house.
I turn up at 9am, and all I have to do is sit with him. He hates being on his own, so he wants people around him all the time. That’s pretty much it!
I sit, watch tv, read the paper, and chat to this man until midday when I trot off to my other job.
It’s a pretty sweet set up, I have to admit. I started in January, I think, and when I started he was full of stories; he’d tell me tales of how he met his wife – which by the way, is one of cutest stories I’ve ever heard – he told me how he was in the parachute regiment, about his childhood, about his business, and his social life, the holidays he’s been on, his faith, pretty much his whole life story! It’s been fantastic getting to know him, and he’s taught me a lot, about life, and about myself!
If anybody reading this ever gets the chance to hang out with an old person, whether paid to do so or not, you should definitely take up the opportunity. It’s been such a good time period, and it’s good to learn about life in years gone by!
Recently, he’s been telling me more about his ailments, medication, pains, and disagreements with people he has. These anecdotes aren’t quite as fun as the aforementioned, but these are the times that I have learnt so much more about myself.
I love people. And I really love to help people. I think this is a gift from God. If I can do something, anything, to make someone’s day just s tiny bit better, I will do what I can to make that happen.
One thing in particular that Joe has struggled with is his faith. I don’t know if it’s that he was never told about certain things, or whether he’s just forgotten them in his seniority, but I’ve loved helping him with messages from the Bible.
I always see myself as a very un-learned Christian. I went to Sunday School as a kid, but between the ages of 9-20 the only thing I did to do with God was pray. I never read the Bible, I didn’t go to church, but I knew God was there for me, and He reassured me and gave me strength through different situations. This has left me with incredibly basic knowledge of the Bible, and it’s something I’ve really struggled with since becoming a Christian.
I know that the Bible is important, and I think that’s why approaching it scares me. If I read it and don’t understand something I’ve read, I feel like I’m missing something, and at I’m not a good enough Christ follower to understand what I’m reading. When actually, most people feel this when they first read the Bible. It’s part of learning. You have to delve deeper, understand context, character, timing, and not just expect to read a chapter and get it immediately.
Joe began to ask me questions a couple of months ago, about the Bible and about God. To begin with, this really scared me, because I thought “how can I help you, if I barely get it myself?!”, and “you’ve been a Christian far longer than I have, how can I help you?!”
However, it turned out, all the things Joe asked me about, were in fact things I’d had teaching on at church, or had read myself a few times, or things that God had given me the grace to understand first time.
I loved this, because it left me in a position where I could actually help someone else understand God’s Word. It was a position I never thought I would find myself in, but it really helped me. I was being challenged about things, being forced to think more about them, and then give a constructive, helpful answer.
I feel that this is all such a gift from God. It’s been an introduction to teaching, in a totally non-threatening way, and I’ve loved this opportunity.
When Joe has asked me questions that I’ve not known the answers to, it’s made me look at the text, it’s made me evaluate what I’m reading, and it has helped me to learn.
I never thought I would be a person to help others to understand the Bible, but I am beginning to think that it might actually be a gift that God has given me.
It is something I massively need to develop before I do anything about. I believe God has put things on Joe’s heart that I will be able to help with, so that I can grow in confidence, rather than being asked things that I have had no idea about, and being too scared to then pursue it.
It’s not something I am in any rush to do, the idea of being in a group and asked questions still makes me feel queasy, but one on one, I really do enjoy it.
I would never have found this out about myself if I hadn’t started working at Joe’s. It’s been great getting to know someone who is totally different to myself in every possible way, and being able to learn from them, help them in return, and share in our similarities.
I hope when I am 90 years old, some young person will be able to learn from me.