My brother, Daddy, Robin and I attended a gospel music “hymn sing” this past Monday. It was a wonderful couple of hours just singing old songs that I’ve not even thought about in a long time and the four of us really enjoyed the evening. ALL of the money collected through ticket sales and an offering was given to “Veranda Ministries”. The Southern Gospel groups that were there donated their time as well. Veranda’s mission, as stated on their web site, is

“The Veranda, a primary outreach of Veranda Ministries and a ministry supported by Impact Fellowship Church, provides a time of nurturing respite care to allow family caregivers much needed time for themselves. Services for family also include a monthly support group for caregivers and a semi-annual caregiver conference. The conference helps family members and other caregivers utilize biblical principles to cope with the physical and emotional toll of a stressful life situation. The number of clients in The Veranda’s respite program has doubled since its 2012 launch. A nominal fee is charged per day. If a client’s financial situation is of concern, a scholarship may be applied toward the cost of a client’s care, if eligible.”

Caregivers for dementia patients face so many obstacles, frustrations and disappointments of which many of us are unaware. Robin was the primary caregiver for her aunt who had dementia, her mother who had end stage renal failure, and her step-father who had some early-stage dementia. Her guide book during this time was titled “The Thirty-Six Hour Day” and many days that’s what it felt like.

During the hymn sing, the founder of Veranda spoke about their work and the impact they were seeing. She spoke of people who were in near-comatose conditions, didn’t recognize anyone, and were basically non-verbal. But she said when they played a DVD of one of the hymn-sings, many of those patients would perk up and start singing the old songs they had known for many years. I wish I had captured her exact words but she said something like

A messed-up tangled up mind cannot contain the heart and soul where God abides.

Even though our minds cannot process information to recognize even our own children, our heart and soul still sings praise to the God Who created the universe. A line from the praise song “Shout to the Lord” says “Let every breath, all that I am, never cease to worship You”; even when we don’t know in our own mind we are worshiping, our heart and soul takes over and we still worship.

Then I thought about the recovery community with whom I worship each week. We have “messed up, tangled up” minds mostly resulting from poor decisions we have made but we still worship; it is true, we are mentally aware of what we are doing but it begins in the heart and soul, “where God abides”.

“Shout to the Lord all the earth let us sing
Power and majesty praise to the King
Mountains bow down and the seas will roar at the sound of Your Name.”

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