The old white-haired man struggled to get his wheel chair down the hallway. His frail arms pushing the wheels agonizingly slow, sweat beading up on his forehead. As I got closer he looked up at me with a vacant, hopeless stare.
“Sir, you look like you could use some help. Do you mind if I push you? Are you going to the dining room for breakfast? I‘d be happy to take you there.”
His face softened in a grateful smile and he nodded. When I got him to the dining room he pointed to the table he wanted to sit at. I pushed him up close then sat down next to him. He smiled and his pale blue eyes twinkled.
“Now, that’s much better isn’t it? My name is Carrie and I just started to work here this morning. What’s your name?” I asked with a smile.
“I am James. James Travis Gannon and I am pleased to meet you Carrie.” He extended his hand for a remarkably firm handshake.
“I am pleased to meet you too, Mr. Gannon.”
“Please young lady, call me James.”
“Okay, then. Thanks James.”
“Do you know, Carrie that I have been here quite a while but you are the first person who seemed like you really wanted to help. I see something in your eyes….it’s kindness, gentleness. Do you know the Lord Jesus as your Saviour?”
His question took me off guard. It seemed so forward and very personal and so quick! I had just met this elderly man not two minutes ago!
“Well, I….” I stammered.
“I’m sorry. I did it again, didn’t I? Old dogs just can’t learn new tricks.” He chuckled. “You see, I am a Preacher. Oh, I’m retired now, obviously but I still have to ask every new person I meet if they know my Jesus. So, do you?”
“I guess I really don’t know what you mean….I mean yeah, I think so. I believe in God and all that….”
“But do you know for sure that when you die, your soul will live on forever in heaven?”
“I don’t know…I mean I didn’t think anybody could really know for sure. Can they? I thought like…you could only hope that you‘ve been a good enough person to get in, right?”
“Oh no little lady! You can know for sure! I can show you how to know. Would you like that, Carrie?”
I felt my face flushing and quickly changed the subject.
“Mr. Gannon,…uh…I mean James. I am here to write a thesis on the elderly living in nursing homes. I’m a college student and I am volunteering for a couple weeks to collect my research material. Would you like to help me? Do you mind answering some questions?”
“Not all Carrie. Ask away.”
“Well, what would you say is your number one challenge living here?”
“Overcoming loneliness and isolation. Being forgotten by family and friends. Do you know it’s been over six months since I have seen or heard from my son, Carrie? And when he does call or come by, he really doesn’t have much to say. He fidgets for about ten minutes and tries to make awkward conversation. Then he just….leaves again.”
James’ eyes started tearing up and my heart ached for him.
“So you must have friends and other family members that come to visit, right?”
“Oh, they used to….I guess the young folks are just so busy these days. You know, if I didn’t have Jesus as my best friend, I couldn‘t have made it here in this place. He is a friend that sticks closer to me than a brother. He is the only One I can depend on, Carrie. He never leaves me nor forsakes me, like all the others.”
His smile returned and those blue eyes started twinkling again. Wow, I thought…..just the mention of the name Jesus brought joy and a light to his whole countenance. What is that? I wondered.
“Um James, can you tell me a little more about Jesus and how I can know for sure that I’ll go to heaven?”
“I sure can, young lady! He smiled exuberantly. “Can you hand me that little New Testament in the pocket on the back of my chair, please?”
That volunteer assignment was the best thing I ever did. That day I met my Lord Jesus Christ with the help of Mr. James Travis Gannon who is now resting with the Lord in heaven…for sure!
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be right now. CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.