Love Someone Today
My grandma, Ola C. Belk, passed away on September 21st, 2019.
If you don’t know her story she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease years ago. As hard as these recent days have been for my family, and my dad especially, and I want to reflect on what she taught me through all the years I was able to know her.
She was one of the most selfless and loving women I’ve ever known. She loved like all of us want and strive to love others. She would stop everything she was doing to help or talk through something with you. She selflessly loved every single day. She cared about everything that anybody was going through, big or small, it didn’t matter. After she heard what was going on, she would try and come up with solutions to fix the problem immediately.
She never cared what it cost her.
Not only was she an incredibly selfless woman, but she was also an incredibly sharp career woman. She worked at the Charleston Air Force base for a long time (as a civilian) managing a huge logistical department. She would make sure cargo, troops, and weapons got from point A to point B. It was a fantastic job.
But as soon as I was born she immediately retired because she had found her new purpose—she had me to love and take care of.
She found her purpose and mission through a life of service—in a lot of different ways. Whether it was a neighbor or friend she had known for 20+ years or a stranger she had just met. She welcomed and loved everyone with open arms. As much of an example that she was, I often fail at trying to replicate it.
To put it simply, the ultimate example of who my grandma was—is Jesus.
Jesus loved each and every one of us unconditionally and will always love us unconditionally. While he was on this earth he served us. He served and loved an undeserving group of people destined for the death that he ultimately received.
That’s the most selfless love I know of and will ever know of.
My dad said a few words at my grandma's funeral that has really stuck with me and I want to share my take on those words with all of you.
My grandma was born in 1931 and died in 2019. On her plaque, it says 1931 – 2019.
My dad said, that “–“ represents this life that we have on earth.
In our “dash” how are we going to love and serve people?
Are we going to waste that “dash”?
Or are we going to use that “dash” to give glory back to God?
That “dash,” in the grand scheme of time is very very short. So every day that we have here on this earth it is necessary for us to love. It’s necessary for us to serve without even thinking about what it’s going to cost us. It represents the time we have to leave a legacy and ultimately it gives us a chance to live and to give glory to God.
Alzheimer’s Disease is an incredibly terrible disease that has no cure and is very underfunded, both in terms of providing care for the families with relatives with the disease and underfunded research into what causes the disease. I encourage you to educate yourself about this disease and if you can donate to a non-profit that is giving grants to those with families affected by this disease or by continuing Alzheimer’s research. I have listed a few non-profit options below.
I urge you to educate yourself about this disease and I urge you to love on those with family members that are affected by it. See how you can serve them. I have seen first hand through my own experience how this disease affected my family and how frustrating those early days can be with navigating the disease and how just generally confusing the whole situation is. The person you once knew is no longer there—or at least 95% of the time—is not really there. They are nearly impossible to communicate with and eventually they are incredibly difficult to care for. You have to learn how to care for an adult like they are a child. Every day has it’s new and unexpected challenge and I’ve seen first hand how hard that was on my family after I moved out of my grandparents house. It’s heartbreaking.
I will end on this thought… love someone today. Our “dash” is so short and I would hate for us to waste it not loving and serving those around us. Jesus set the ultimate example of this—let’s continue to chase after that example day after day.