"I don't have time to care for you!"


 "a poor beggar man desperately held out his hand, in need of food and comfort. So many who passed by him merely ignored him, some even slapped his hand away..he was so dirty...so gross! They were on their way to an important mission: they heard the Messiah was coming to their small town and they wanted to meet Him! They wore their finest clothes and brought even finer gifts. The poor beggar man, disappointment in his features, slowly followed them. Standing at the back of the crowd, he overheard their excited chatter; "where is He? Where is the Messiah?" As the beggar forced his way through the crowd, many were repulsed and pushed him away. "Why would the Messiah want to have anything to do with you?" they cried. "Get away, you have nothing to offer Him!" Yet the beggar continued to push into the crowd an those nearest to him witnessed a change: As he stood in the midst of them, he took on an aura such as was never seen. Light radiated from his head to the ground, his rags for clothing became a white garment, he held out his Hands and they too, took on a strong healthy appearance. People stood transfixed...and out of their murmurings, He spoke. "You were waiting for one so great and yet, when the Great One stood in your midst, you ignored Me. Have you forgotten....what you do to the least of these...you have done for Me!"

When I was in the hospital recuperating from knee surgery, I had to go through physical therapy. We were encouraged to have family or friends who could help us and be an encouragement to us. On the second day, I was excited, because I knew I would be going home later. In this session was an older man, about 75 years old. His very well-dressed wife came in just before the session began and sat next to him. While the other patients spoke to their partners, I was amazed--and very saddened- at the exchange of this woman with her husband. He, too was excited to go home and told his wife so. She gave him a sideways look and said, "I think you need to spend two weeks in transitional care instead." Puzzled, he asked her why, a serious frown on his face. "I want to come home!" he said insistently. "Well, who is going to take care of you? I don't have time to do it!"
Everyone in the room stopped speaking, to hear this exchange. My heart just about broke, for out of the eight of us who had knee surgery two days before, he had shown the fastest progress. Clearly he wanted out of the hospital...only to be adamantly told his own wife did not want to assume responsibility for his continued care. She continued, much to the chagrin of all of us who were witnessing this conversation: "well, only if you think you can take care of yourself, because I just don't want to do it!" It wasn't that she was feeble herself, judging by the way she looked and acted, this seemed a more selfish move on her part.
For the rest of my stay there, I pondered this. I got all choked up each time I thought about it. This was his WIFE! Who better to care for him...did she forget the marriage vows? For better...for worse...sickness...health? Wow. I saw a movie recently about a couple who  met; both had serious issues with cancer, yet chose to be together, making the most of their time left. As he put it, " for better or for worse...and even with this, it is better, because to be without you...is the worse thing I can think of!" Wow again!
I am blessed to have a husband who has stuck it out with me, even as grumpy as I was the first couple of days home. Gosh I was a pain because I was IN pain...and when words flew out of my mouth, leveled at him without thinking, I saw how it cut through his heart---and regretted it. Again...more tears! It is frustrating for me to depend on others...I have always done things myself. And yet here is this wonderful husband ready to do my bidding and I was so pissy about it...I felt so bad. It doesn't help that though I have grown kids near by, they have offered little help. Why? I don't know...with the exception of my 18 year old, (who has played Scrabble with me--and beaten me each time! and also ran errands for me and walked the dogs when needed,) I am wondering if the others felt as this woman did..."I just don't want to care for you!" I think back to the days when they were young...and I doted on them. I saw them through stomach flu, potty training, then driver's training...and much more. So what happened...when did this pervasive idea of people being more bother than they are worth come into play? Is this why we live in an isolated society...we see need all around us but just don't care enough to do anything? Yet, we look down our noses at those same people: they aren't good enough to merit our attention, yet we judge them as unworthy to even breathe the same air. So sad! 
Today...look around you---see the need. Be it family, friend or stranger, do NOT wait to be asked, take the initiative and offer assistance! Every little thing matters...EVERY LITTLE THING! Because when we do it for each other...it is as if we have done it for the good and glory of God. And who doesn't want to impress HIM??


  1. wow is right...to the wife...you are his wife, not an ornament..what were you thinking? Is it so hard to care for someone? and to you Rev Baum, I hope your healing goes well. Yup, it is hard to realize our kids can be quite mean and rude sometimes....they forget that as they continue to grow up, we are growing older.When it finally does hit, it's a real wake up call.

  2. the Church gets so caught up in our being like the great saints. Teresa, Francis, Peter, they all has their place. But we can be saints in our own way. Unfortunately, we feel as if we don't measure up. I certainly would find it hard to go up to a neighbor if I knew she was recovering from surgery and offer help. and we need to realize that many folks turn down help, too. so where is the healthy balance?

  3. it's what the story says, just use initiative! Sort of like the maids in days of old: "I opened your curtains for you," or "Here is a pretty flower I wished to share with you, it's on your breakfast tray." I had a neighbor that needed surgery alot. I had an open offerig that I would care for her pets and plants while she was gone. There! One less thing for her to worry about! Another friend I offered to drive her to the store knowing she had no car to get there. There are many ways to make ourselves available, I think, not a saint, that you are looking for excuses. As to the Rev Baum's kids, " grow up....you can't be so busy that you can't even CALL and offer or just make a quick trip over to make sure all is well." There are sad stories in the news of folks who immediately call police when someone doesn't show up for work. They use initiative! Yes it usually ends up bad, but at least somebody cared enough to follow through! We do need to be our brother's keeper.

  4. after reading this, all I can say is, I still wish my wife were here. Care for her? You bet! How some people can do this to each other is beyond me! Spouses, adult kids to their parents, it makes no difference! NONE! Know your place...as I said before, you live in the hell you create! Why not make it a peacefilled place and make others happy? Thanks Rev...I hope your rob is caring for you--in fact, I know he is...because he loves you that much!


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