合掌Returning the favor in this time
It was late February. My wife found my mother had fallen out of her chair and was unable to get up on her own. She was in pain, so we went to see her family doctor just to be on the safe side, and he said there was nothing wrong with her bones. However, she was having difficulty taking a bath, so we consulted with a care manager and was to take a pick-up service twice a week.
We were relieved to have fixed things for the time being. But when she came back from the service having been given a bath, which was supposed to refresh her and make her feel better, she became very tired. Mom's physical strength also deteriorated with each passing day. So, we had her examined at the base hospital, where it was discovered that she had had a stroke, and she was hospitalized for treatment.
I was able to discharge her from the hospital in mid-April after a month and a half of restricted visitation due to Covid. However, what I received from the city hall was a certification of requiring nursing care level 5, which means it was difficult for her to lead her daily life on her own.
She can use her left hand luckily, so she can eat by herself, although it takes time. At first, I was amazed at how long a person could sleep. She was always sleeping except when she was eating. But now, a little more than a month later, she has recovered to the point where she can raise the head of her bed to read newspapers and books, turning pages with her left hand. On Sunday evening she watches her favorite hour long TV drama on her wheel chair.
With the help of my family and social services, I hope to continue taking care of her at home. I am sure this will cause some inconvenience to those involved in the temple, so I would appreciate your understanding and cooperation.
By the way, as chief priest of the temple, I perform a daily morning service in the main hall around 6:30. I confess that all sorts of thoughts come up to my mind while chanting the sutras and reciting the Nembutsu.
"What if I get a back injury due to nursing care?" "I can't go for a drive or walk to relax without my mother having to meet visitors in my absence. " "Working in the garden and going shopping might be restricted." Worries such as these come to mind.
That is when I realized something. I now truly understood that my mother must have raised me when I was a child, even if it meant that she had to put her own life aside. I am sure that my mother must have had things she wanted to do when she was young. There may have been things that she gave up in order to raise me and my brother. So, in one sense, we're 'even'. Now I am just returning the favor. As soon as this picture came to mind, I felt better.
Just then, I happened to look toward the altar, where Amitaba is located. And, I saw him smiling broadly at me.
Perhaps it was just the light coming in from behind the shoji screen that made it look that way. However, I am grateful for the many things I am reminded of from time to time during my work at the temple. I am truly grateful for that.