Helping Others Move Obstacles in Life’s Path

Helping Others Move Obstacles in Life’s Path

Jim Stinson, Former Consultant on Older Adult Ministries


She arrived convinced that life was over. The house that her husband had built, the house that she had turned into a home, the house in which her children were born and raised, had become a burden to maintain. Her husband had died, her children had married and moved on, and she was left alone. Life had no promise left, or so she assumed. And so, against her wishes, her children had convinced her to sell the place and move to an assisted living community.

Now here she was, trying to place photos and other mementos of a familiar life all around her. She worries that otherwise she will forget how they looked, even though she likely will never really forget. And she has remembered well enough that she is struggling to forge new relationships. 

She is trapped in her past. Even if she wanted to, she cannot escape the past. It has her under its spell. The past is in control. She is growing increasingly isolated and bitter. 

And suddenly it is Easter Sunday, and the assisted living bus takes a group of residents to a nearby church. She felt more separated than ever. She knew no one. A stranger spoke to her, asked if she could sit with her, and not waiting for an answer, sat down. The woman smiled warmly, and for a moment, the stranger created a safe haven, making the lonely woman feel better.

Before going home, the woman from the assisted living place had the other woman’s phone number and had given hers. A friendship had been born, crossing the chasm of grief and loneliness. A new chapter in life was opened. A kind word, a sincere smile, an outreached hand was all it took.

I thought of this woman on Easter Sunday as I preached on Mark’s account of the first Easter and pictured the stone that had been rolled away. We encounter many stones that lock us, as it were, in a tomb. Ministry in the name of Jesus just might be a ministry of moving stones too big for someone to move alone.

Praying this Easter season helps us to move the stones in our lives and that we help other move theirs.