Leaving Space To Enjoy Daily Miracles

Leaving Space To Enjoy Daily Miracles

Jim Stinson, Former Consultant on Older Adult Ministries


He was very excited as he asked me. Sitting outside of the Wicke Health Center, where he is a resident, from where he goes for dialysis three days a week, his free time is limited and is often marked by fatigue from the ordeal he endures every other day.

So it was especially meaningful that he was so excited and full of vitality as he asked. “Have you seen the Luna Moth?”

First of all, I wasn’t quite sure if I had ever seen a Luna Moth, nor would I have recognized one if I did. Second, I could not comprehend the excitement until he told me all about the Luna Moth. Endangered as a species, rare, and usually only spotted at night, for one who knows of nature’s wonders, the fact that he was seeing this moth (which by the way has an extremely short life span) was a cause for wonder.

That wonder was awakened by a moth of all things—it “made his day” and mine. His, because although he knew about the Luna Moth, he had never seen one before; mine, because it caused me to stop and reflect at how many of the “little miracles” of life I miss because I get so busy looking at the big picture rather than the components of it.

I loved the fact that we could have a conversation free of the disease that keeps him pre-occupied, and could focus instead on the miracle of the Luna Moth.

In a strange way, doing so pushed me into a new place. It got me thinking about how I do ministry with and for older adults, many of who are preoccupied with what they see as the “big picture.” Many are so focused on the illnesses and frailties that often come with the aging process that they miss the little miracles that happen daily—the daily opportunities for joy and wonder. It also got me thinking about their caregivers, who often are so preoccupied with what’s wrong with mom or dad that they miss what’s right with their loved ones. They miss the everyday miracles of interacting with them, of feeling and sharing love.

My friend at Wicke Health Center knew a secret we all would do well to remember. No matter the situation, no matter the location, there are always Luna Moths. There are always the bright spots, if we know where to look. 

Marge knew the same secret. Widowed six months earlier, still grieving, she was told she had the same cancer that had claimed her husband’s life. Seeing the “big picture,” I went to see her expecting to find a woman in despair.

Instead I found a woman who looked for the Luna Moth, as it were, and found it. We were talking about the diagnosis when she said, “You know, either way I can’t lose. Either I get more time with my kids and grandchildren or I get to be with Hughie sooner than I thought.” My initial reaction was that she was in denial about the real situation. As I watched her, as her cancer spread, that reaction changed. She faced everyday head on, but always with a sense that little miracles were occurring. She lived every minute of her dwindling life with a sense of joy. 

So in caring for or about older adults, remember the Luna Moth and help those for whom you care to see it with you!

Feel free to print or share with your congregation. © 2014 Rev. James Stinson