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Tangles in the Hair

We are all getting older. Does that thought scare you? It may, mainly because this is a youth-worshipping society, and one would have to be blind not to see how the aged are disrespected and at times, even despised. How would you like to be treated when you're old? The way we'd like to be treated is the way that we should currently be treating others. "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets." (Matt. 7:12) We know this as "The Golden Rule." God teaches it as a life principle.

Norman and I have been visiting a lady for several years who attended our church years ago, but she is now what would  be called a "shut-in," leaving her home only for medical appointments. We were delivering groceries and just stopping by to spend some time with her recently, but I was saddened to see the changes that had happened in the months while I was away traveling. The Lord laid her on my husband's heart, and he said to me, "She's probably not long for this world. We need to go and see her." This dear lady is in her 90s and failing. In fact, at this visit, she asked me who I was, and I had to remind her of my name. She then looked at my husband and I said, "And that's Norman." She didn't seem to recognize either of us, but that didn't keep her from holding my hand.

As I looked into her face, I could see the lady I used to know, and I could even tell that the longer she studied my face, the more she was beginning to recognize and remember who I was. When I asked, "May I get you a bowl of cereal?" she perked up and accepted my offer. I watched as she drank the milk out of the bowl, leaving most of the cereal behind because she didn't feel like chewing. Do we even realize what a blessing it is to be able to enjoy our food?

After her light breakfast, I asked if I could comb the tangles out of her hair. You see, this sweet lady lives with her adult son, but he is also handicapped and cares for her as best he can. Social services has offered to move her into a nursing home, but she has steadfastly refused. Her son defends her decision, saying that a nursing home would "make her give up on living."

So, she spends her days in a recliner, leaving the chair only to go to the bathroom or to go to bed at night. Her hair was matted from sleep, so with her permission, I began the slow process of removing the tangles from what looked like many days. As I combed, she leaned into my hand. Once the tangles were out, I switched to brushing, and again, she leaned into the brush and seemed to genuinely enjoy this simple process. Do we even realize what a blessing it is to be able to brush our own hair?

If you have "shut-ins" in your church, adopt one or more and become their friend. We have it so good in this life, especially if we can jump into our cars, drive wherever we want, pick up our own groceries and carry them into the house, plus much more! We take these abilities for granted, but these are tasks that many can no longer do for themselves. Those of us who are able need to keep an eye on those who have needs. "But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?" (I John 3:17)

Spending time around older people who have ailments, pains, memory loss, and more is good for us. It balances our view of life, reminding us of how things can change over time. It also deepens our compassion and makes us more thoughtful. "Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous..." (I Pet. 3:8)

One day, if the Lord tarries, we may live to be 80, or even 90. To paraphrase Matthew 7:12, "Brush out someone's tangles, as you would have them brush out yours."

"Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." (I John 3:16)

Author's note: This was written on November 10, 2012. On November 22, 2012, the dear lady who couldn't brush her own hair went to heaven.


  1. This one made me cry. My sweet mom-in-love is in great health and 88 years old. She lost her precious love of over 60 years last year, and has had a tough time getting back into life. We are so happy to have her going with us on a getaway weekend this weekend. I cherish our older folks and pray that God will allow me to be a blessing to them all. Even a handwritten card with verses in it is a blessing to them. (I have found if you write out the verses in legible large-print it is really a blessing). Anyway, God blesses those who honor the gray haired among us. They are worthy of honor. Thank you for this wonderful reminder. Especially over the Holidays it is great to seek out those who may need a family to celebrate with!

  2. I agree 100%. Too many times these great elderly people get forgotten because they are home. Little things like combing their hair and just sitting and chatting mean the world to them. It's so easy to make them feel special and they are truly grateful for the things done for them.


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