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Discovering the "In Between"
Jim Stinson

By: Jim Stinson on February 17th, 2015

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Discovering the "In Between"

assisted living  |  caregiver tips  |  Aging & Caregiving

shutterstock_147404285There is a wonderful children’s book called God in Between. As with most children’s books, adults would do well to read it.It was written by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso and published by Jewish Lights Publishing in 1998 and is “For People of All Faiths, All Backgrounds.”

It is one of the few books I kept when downsizing and moving to a condo. It is the story of a window-less, road-less, overgrown town, and its people who sense something missing in their lives.

People are cut off from one another and cannot watch or see anything beyond their own four walls. They sense that if they can find God (whose existence is not certain to them) they might find what they are missing.

Much to their surprise they are led to discover that God (the meaning for their lives) is not missing. He, She, It, has always been present, but unseen because they are not connected to each other. They discover that God is found “In the between. In between us.”

What draws me to this story is how deeply spiritual it is, transcending religious boundaries and restrictions. It speaks to the universal need of being connected to others; to the need to know we are not alone. For Christians it is the Christmas message of Emmanuel (God is with us); for Jews, it is the conviction that Yahweh (God) has led them in the past and will continue to do so in the present and the future. All major religions emphasize the community, the togetherness in which God, the Other, the Divine, the Sacred One, is found. 

Partner with Loved Ones

From where I sit, this is often the most difficult task aging people are called to be about.   My observation is that they do so successfully and more gracefully when those who care for them and care about them understand the enormity of this task and offer support for them to do so.

A word of encouragement, rather than a word of criticism is one way to do so. Rather than, “Mom, you know it isn’t good for you to just sit around all day,” how about, “Mom, there’s this great group downtown for people your age. Would you go once or twice and try it out?  I’d be glad to take you and pick you up.”

Or rather than, “Dad, you need to move out of here,” how about, “My friend’s father moved a while ago to a senior living community and surprisingly loves it.   He said his Dad would love to show you around his new home. Would you go for lunch someday with me and his son?”

 As caregivers and people who care about someone who is aging, we can make a great difference in helping them discover “God in Between.   In between us.”  And that difference begins when we understand what they are facing and face it with them as partners!

About Jim Stinson

I first became an ordained member of the New York Conference of the United Methodist Church fifty years ago. Through my time with the pastoral ministry, I worked extensively with older adults, many of whom were members of my congregation. I also served as the Director of Spiritual Life for United Methodist Homes from July 2002 until my retirement in July 2015, providing guidance and support to residents, family members, and staff. I love reminding people that “old” is not a dirty word and encourage others to adopt a healthy perspective on aging. I am also the author of a book, Just Because I Am Old – A Practical and Theological Guide To Caring, which was recently published in 2014.

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