Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Letting down the drawbridge of our heart

Some stories are real life tragedies that have all the ingredients of a morality tale and really do need to be told.

There was a tragic story about the deaths of an elderly mother and her severely disabled daughter in the media a few days ago.

A person delivering leaflets noticed that when he pushed his flyers through the letter box of one home, he was met with flies escaping through the open letter box. He called the police and they discovered that both mother and daughter were dead. It is more than likely that the mother died and her daughter had no way of calling for help and starved to death.

This tragedy had its roots in decisions that were taken many years back. In the late 1990's the mother refused further help from the local authorities after wheelchair ramps and rails had been fitted.

Consequently, no panic alarm was fitted. No-one was keeping an eye on this family. And the neighbours were kept at arm's length. This lady had pulled up the drawbridge of her heart, not realising that what appeared to make her secure in her own castle exposed her to a danger she might never have imagined.

"We don't need your help" can seem like a very courageous, stoical approach to life and the difficulties it sometimes brings. However, the pride and determination that it produces can leave those that we love - as well as ourselves - very vulnerable.

It might be argued that those who knew about this mother and daughter should have been more intrusive, but that is unfair. It is unfair to lay blame at the door of those who have a lesser duty of care, especially in such instances when the primary carer has the moral and mental capacity and legal right to make decisions that affect the future of those in their charge.

When people isolate themselves they are in no position to blame others for not trying to get in touch or for not looking out for them.

Tragically, this elderly lady actually had placed a banner on her roof about three years ago with "Help" written on it. We don't know if anyone took any notice.

Unfortunately, even our cries for help can be overlooked or unheard if we have insisted for so long that we don't need help from others.

Jesus didn't just come to save individuals. He came to form a community of redeemed people who would serve each other in love. We do need each other! Why not let down the drawbridge of your heart and allow some traffic across?

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