The term “sandwich generation” was coined by social worker Dorothy A. Miller in 1981 to describe adult children of the elderly who are “sandwiched” between caring for their own children and their aging parents. Even though my own children are self-sufficient adults, they still need wise counsel from their parents even now and then. And especially since my oldest is expecting our first grandchild, the desire to offer support and encouragement is even stronger.
Road trips to check in on my elderly parents who insist on staying in their home without assistance have become more frequent in the past couple of years. Their mobility is limited and in Mom’s case, she is housebound and unable to enjoy all the things that once brought her so much joy like working in her vegetable garden. Preparing meals is a laborious chore for her but she persists at her own pace. Her pace and mine are not often the same. Being the Martha-type that I am, when I visit I will want to dive in and do as much for them as I can with cleaning, grocery shopping, and organizing the mail until the next visit. But often, she will say “I’ll get to that later.” In other words, she is wanting me to just sit and be present.
As I sat across the table from her, I looked into her eyes and noticed that they were more of a gray than brown and they seemed to water more than usual. It was especially haunting because I felt like I was seeing beyond just her. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but the feeling continued to wrestle within my spirit. I was out walking later in the weekend and a favorite worship song, “When I Lock Eyes with You” came up in my playlist. Then I made the connection! We have the opportunity to look into the eyes of God every day.
Matthew 25: 44 admonishes us “Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’” In this rush-to-get-to-the-next-thing world we live in, do we miss the opportunities to minister? Sometimes the needs are material. Sometimes the needs are emotional. Sometimes the needs are spiritual. Regardless, God has more than equipped us to meet the needs of others that He puts along our journey. Just speaking for me, it’s a call to be forever in His presence and be present looking for the opportunity to minister.
Dear God, You are gracious, kind, patient, and holy. The depths of your love I cannot fathom. I confess the times that I have not been as aware of the ministry needs of others. Forgive me for missing these opportunities. Heighten my awareness, dear Lord. Create in me a spirit that acts obediently and without delay to do Your will. Bless us now God as we seek to be a blessing. Amen