Good day to each of you reading this column on a subject that touches each family on a daily basis.
To begin with, however, how about some bad humor to cheer you up? From the Lexington Chronicle comes a fisherman laying on a beautiful beach, his fishing pole propped up in the sand and his line cast out into the blue surf. He was enjoying the afternoon sun and the prospect of catching fish.
About that time, a businessman came walking down the beach and noticed the fisherman sitting on the beach and decided to find out why this fisherman was fishing instead of working harder to make a living for himself and for his family. “You aren’t going to catch many fish that way,” the businessman said. “You should be working rather than lying on the beach.” the fisherman replied, “What will that do for me?” “You will make money and you will be able to buy a boat, which will then result in larger catches of fish!”
The fisherman replied, “What will that do for me?” “You can buy a bigger boat, and hire people to work for you,” he said. “You can sail all over the world and let all your employees’ fish for you. You can become so rich that you will never have to work again!” “You can spend the rest of your days on this beach.
“You won’t have a care in the world!” The fisherman said, “And what do you think I’m doing right now?”
I do hope you enjoyed the above joke, especially these days when all we hear is doom and gloom.
Let’s turn to the subject at hand and that is to honor your parents. Why am I bringing up this subject up, as this has hit home to my wife and myself? Recently, we have faced the challenge of moving my parents from their residence and into a nursing home. They are 85 & 90 years old with dementia and cannot care for themselves. One of the largest challenges is being an only child with no help from another sibling as many decisions must be made in a short period of time. Each challenge is to make the right decision for each parent and to make that decision that is best for the individual.
Turn to Exodus 20:12 (NIV) “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
The very first word begins with Honor which, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, means respect and esteem shown to another. HONOR may apply to the recognition of one’s right to great respect or to any expression of such recognition.
Many of you reading this column are experiencing on how to honor your parents as they reach their final years by living in an assisted living and or memory center. My wife and I are experiencing this as I write and this has given me a different way to look at things that we take for granted. I have begun walking in my father’s shoes and now I value each word that he says and each moment that is spent.
To me honor equates to time—time spent with your loved ones, time to look at them and share the memories of your earlier days. Time to listen to the same stories that your parents repeat over and over due to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Time to hold their hand when their walk is gone and their steps are slow, time to give them a hug and cry a tear knowing that this may be the last time you may see them.
Time to tell them that you love them and that you will always be there for them in thick and thin and that you will never desert them. Time to bury any wrongs and put hurtful words in the rear mirror and to forgive in person.
Parents are not perfect, and neither are the children, yet they both have one great thing in common, for as a child, the parent cuddles, loves, speaks softly, nourishes, smiles, touches, kisses, protects his or her child or children. So should it not be the same when your parents grow old and feeble with you and your sibling to return the favor and provide the time to do what they have done for you.
Honor goes so much deeper than a casual call, a card sent, or an e-mail, for time spent in person is the gold that our parents are looking to receive. Don’t you owe it to them to spend time with them?
God knows every hair on our head, every time an animal dies, every thought in our mind and when each of us will die. In the span of life, we are born of our parents and brought up to honor each and all of the commandments—not words, but commands from God and if we love God, then why would we wish to hurt him by disobeying any of these commands.
In the same light, He placed the fifth commandment right in the middle between commandments 1 and 10. As to the importance, God placed this commandment as the 1st commandment with a promise attached. As for the promise, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. This is the blessing that you will receive when you Honor your father and mother.
Wait, for every blessing there is a curse—turn to Matthew 15:4 (NIV) For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother and anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.
As to the blessing from God, turn to Ephesians 6:2-3 (NIV) “Honor your father and your mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
As we conclude this commandment, let us agree that to honor is to respect and to love our parents all the days of our lives and to take time to see them because you never know if this will be the last time to tell them that you love them.
May God bless you in all that you do and May you bless God in all things, both great and small.