I recently made some visits to area nursing homes and, to my surprise, came across an inspiring and encouraging scene. Often I find nursing home residents "looking sad" as they watch TV, sit by themselves, or simply "doze in and out." But last week I came upon a scene that was much different!
There is something appealing about the words "don't," and "no." Though intended to announce a restriction, to our human nature they frequently become an invitation. This phenomenon is not new; we've seen examples since the beginning of time. Adam and Eve could have enjoyed all of the fruit of the garden if they had only avoided one forbidden tree. The temptation, however, was too much: "When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate it." Together they choose to disobey God. The tragedy is that the rules are there to help us enjoy life. It is when we disregard the rules that we tend get ourselves in trouble.
What a terrible scene we witnessed last month as millions, from around the world, watched the Notre Dame Cathedral engulfed in flames. Fire fighters, rescue workers, religious leaders, and local citizens sprang into action (to the degree that they could) to save the Cathedral. There is one report of a priest racing into the church to save relics and priceless paintings and treasures. Though, at that time, the cause of the fire was unknown; what was clearly known was that a part of history was "going up in flames" and that every reasonable effort should be made to save it. This scene caused me to ask myself some important questions: What is it that I value most? What is it that I would be willing to make heroic efforts to save from danger?
Several years ago my wife came up with the idea of making small "May Flower Baskets" and taking them to the nursing home residents of our church. The first year I think she made 6 but the word soon spread as to how meaningful these viists and small gifts were to each who received them. The next year her number grew to include nursing home and skilled nursing residents. The year after that the number grew to include our "home bound" residents as well. With each year's "gesture of love" her fame was spreading...
May is National Foster Care month; an appropriate time to say thanks to all who take on the incredible challenge of placing children (with some very special needs) into homes of parents (with some special qualities and skills). I am well aware of these challenges because my son, John Schneider, (pictured above) is the Executive Director of Youth and Family Services of El Reno....
Most of us are familiar with the term, "the 4 horseman of the apocalypse" which is taken from the sixth chapter of the Book of Revelation. It refers to a team of evil doers who systematically bring war, famine, pestilence, and death to the earth. Though interpretations vary, it is obvious that these horsemen represent four destructive forces. Interestingly enough, according to family researcher, John Gottman, there are also four horsemen (sources of negativity) that tend to destroy marriages....
My wife frequently asks me, "Why are you wearing your old shirt (tie, pants, shoes)? You have new ones. Your old clothes are sort of out of date; maybe it's time to try on the new." My usually response is, "I like my old clothes; there's nothing wrong with them. I can still get a lot of 'milage' out of them." Well sometimes I'm simply proved wrong...
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.