Sharing the Same Heart

When I walked into the nursing home that’s just a three-minute-walk from campus, a game of Bingo was about to start. Visiting the people there is becoming a regular part of my schedule, but I still meet new people with each visit.

This time, I sat at a table next to a man named Frank, and I soon realized some of his motor skills were impaired, causing him difficulty in speaking. He tried to speak, but he couldn’t move his lips enough to make any clear words come out.

Within a few minutes, a woman, probably in her late seventies, came over to Frank and gave him a big hug. As she talked to him warmly, one of the ladies at my table explained, “Frank is her brother.” The words hit me. Her brother.

Looking at Frank, I saw my brother. He was aged, worn, nearly unable to communicate. Yet he had the same sweet heart. I saw myself in the future, at his side, holding his hand, desperate to hear just one clear word from him.

But here I was now, with Frank. As I watched him, earnestly trying to talk to his sister, my heart broke. He was all alive inside but it was difficult for him to get the life out. This elderly man wasn’t my blood brother, but I wanted to show him I cared.

So, when his sister left and the game of Bingo began, I studied him. When he spoke incoherently, I tried to predicted what he was trying to communicate. And as I began to understand him, I would talk and act in response.

The game ended, and as I got up to leave, I turned around to say goodbye, and Frank gave a reply. Though no clear words were spoken, his voice was happy and thankful. And that made my heart smile.

Later, I stumbled across a verse that spoke directly to this interaction: “[C]omplete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love . . . . Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:3 & 5, ESV).

As I got to know Frank, I tried to empathize with him. When we strive to feel what others feel, we are seeking to understand them. In other words, we strive to align our hearts and our minds. And, according to this verse, through Christ, we can be united with the same heart and mind. We will be unified as brothers and sisters of Christ. So, let us together pursue the mind and heart of Christ.

 

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