By Erick Estrella, CRM
February 22, 2017

Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away. (Ps 90:10)

My pastoral year has been great as I get to experience so many areas of pastoral care especially with the elderly in a nursing home. I have never been to a nursing home before. Thus, my idea of what a nursing home was very limited. All I only know  before was that, it is a place where the elderly are brought by their family because they are not able to take care of them anymore.

When I found out that I was going to the nursing home I asked myself, “what am I going to do there?”. Honestly, I had no idea on what to do with the elderly. Things became even more complicated when during the orientation we were told that there is no touching, no asking questions to the patients, and many more no’s! I was like, what am I suppose do?

On my first day there I was a little bit nervous. I was not familiar with the place, with faces, and I did not know what to do. However, despite of my reservations, I still tried to meet and interact with the residents. It was during their recreation time, so we had question and answer portion. I thought it was frightening but thanks be to God, it seemed that it was I who enjoyed much after the game. At the end of the day, I felt happy and fulfilled.

It was not really difficult as I thought. The next day I felt more comfortable being with them. Sometimes we would sing, dance, read poems, converse and share stories, eat with them, pray with them, and most of all, we celebrate life with them. Being with them made me realize so many things in life.

Truly enough, life is so short. How sad it is to get old having more regrets. Regrets of not having said the things that should have said; regrets of not having done the things that should have done; and regrets of not having loved the things that should have loved. One cannot take back time that was lost. No one can go back and live once again in the past. The past will always be the past. And so, what is really left to a person once grown old and fragile is nothing but good memories or more regrets.

Every time I see them I cannot help but ask myself questions like; What will I be when I get old? How will I look like? Where will I be? What will I be doing? What will be my regrets?; Will I have more good memories to tell? Will I get wiser? Will there be someone who would be willing to listen, or even care? Life is so short and at the same time, it is so mysterious.

I might have many more questions. There might be times wherein I may not know where to go. There might be times where I become so worry about my life. Looking at elderly people and see how fragile they are makes me scared of life, however, turning toward Jesus who is the way, the truth, and the life, I can stand strong and courageously continue to persevere in the midst of different challenges and struggles that come along my way.