“I left my window open hoping someone would come by to visit,” my husband’s grandmother remarked. On a recent visit to her nursing home, my family and I huddled on the lawn outside her window while she sat inside, behind the glass. Due to restrictions from the pandemic, visitors were not allowed inside, nor was she allowed to leave without being quarantined for several weeks afterward. We understood the restrictions, but it didn’t lessen our feelings of helplessness or the loneliness she felt, especially since her husband recently had passed away.
You see, she doesn’t have to be in a nursing home. Her body and her mind are healthy, but she chose to go to be with her husband of 70 years who did need medical help. While she could no longer care for him in the way she needed to medically, she was there with him emotionally. Every day she was present with him as a hand to hold, an ear to listen, and a constant companion.
The beauty in this kind of sacrificial love overwhelms me.
The fact that she daily set aside her needs to meet his needs reminds me of our purpose as Christians, and it inspires me to follow her example as I love the people in my own life. As I’ve witnessed and received her love, it is my turn to love her in the same way.
Now that her husband has passed, it is she who needs a hand to hold, an ear to listen, and a constant companion. My family and I try our best to offer the simple presence and company she needs.
Even though it breaks my heart to think of my husband’s grandmother looking out her window to see if anyone would visit, I hope I never forget my view of my husband’s grandmother’s view from home. Her open window let light, laughter, and love into her room and into her heart. And, interestingly enough, it did the same for mine.
Our interaction that day made me pause to consider how many other residents were sitting by their window in hopes of a visitor. And even beyond the nursing home, how many other people in our world are longing for someone to come, to stop by, to stay awhile to visit?
I imagine more people than we will ever realize are lonely and waiting for companionship.
While they may not be literally cracking open the window of their home in hopes of a visitor, could they be metaphorically cracking open the window of their hearts in hopes of someone to see them? Could the mom standing alone on the edge of the playground while her kids play be secretly wishing for a friend to talk to? Might the neighbor who spends the afternoon sitting on her porch welcome a cup of tea and some conversation?
We can make a difference just by being available. We can all be there for one another, be a hand to hold, a listening ear, and a companion for someone.
All we have to do is simply show up.
I hope this story reminds us to notice those with their windows cracked open, inviting our presence as an open invitation to be present. May we even consider knocking on those who have their windows shut and locked. May we be attentive to those who, even though they are surrounded by people, are still so lonely.
If you, dear friend, are the lonely one, I would encourage you to crack open the window of your heart. I pray someone in your life sees it and comes for a visit. If they don’t, I pray you are bold enough to visit the window of another person’s heart to extend the invitation for companionship first.
And of course, in the event you are still sitting alone by your window, you can rest assured that you are never truly alone. You can always open wide the window of your heart to the Lord, for He is ever-present and the best companion of all.