Sometimes I wish God would just take me.

posted Feb 6, 2015, 2:46 PM by John Ramthun   [ updated Feb 6, 2015, 3:05 PM ]
Sometimes I wish God would just take me.I cant tell you how often I hear this in my visits with the elderly, usually in a hushed and confessional tone. Last week a woman Id just met shared this with me, after tearfully telling me about her estranged daughter, a granddaughter who lives blocks away and never visits, and the necessity of moving out of her home recently, following a serious fall. She now lives in a nursing home, has a roommate, few if any visitors, and she had to whittle down her possessions to fit into half a room. She looked me straight in the eyes and said: I want to die now.

What do I say? Sometimes: Uh-huh (accompanied by a heartfelt nod).Other times, Ive asked: Have you mentioned that to God?I try to put myself in the persons shoes, and wonder if I might have that same desire to go home to God after a long life thats getting increasingly challenging, lonely, and fraught with loss. Its a comforting idea, Im sure.

But, Gods ways are a mystery, and who knows why some people live to be 104 and others are with us such a short time? Why is one person clobbered by loss after loss, while another seems to glide through old age effortlessly? I can see why some older people have had enough! Who knows why any of us are still here? We shake our heads together in wonder.

I could grope around for a good response to their wish for life to be over. Sometimes Ive quoted Psalm 139, how darkness is not dark to God.But, really, its not my job to smooth over a persons pain. Im there to sit with them in their pain.

And, to remind each and every elder I visit that he or she is deeply loved by God, tenderly held, and cherished. Whether life be easy or tough, this much is true. Always.