During this month of April (and the first Monday in May), I volunteered (WHAT WAS I THINKING?) to provide devotions at one of our area retirement communities, for the assisted living folks at 9 a.m. (again--WHAT WAS I THINKING? Did I not realize this would also involve the day after Easter? Yikes.) and the Alzheimer's/dementia unit at 10:30 a.m. Then I am the "Chaplain On Call" until noon.
Actually, all of those "WHAT WAS I THINKING"s are a bit over-the-top. It was a very nice, and even quite Zen kind of morning. Granted, I don't think I'd be able to be a nurse there, but it was very helpful to be there in my capacity this morning.
Devotions consist of singing a hymn, sharing a story or meditation, prayer, and another song. Oh, and the assisted living folks need to be done at 9:20 so they can get to Bingo PROMPTLY at 9:30!
All joking aside, one of the aspects of my job that I truly do love is the time spent with the aged. It provides me with perspective that I might not otherwise have. It provides me with a long view that I might not otherwise have.
I don't have biological grandparents anymore (a fact that was received with shock by just such a one as a 91 (and A HALF) year-old member last week); if I didn't spend time in church with older folks, I might not encounter them much in my life.
It's easy to get wrapped up in a warp-speed, everything-is-important-RIGHT-NOW! kind of lifestyle, but spending time with those who are older can put it in perspective.
Sure, they can be grumpy, itchy, complainy, and crotchety, but they can also describe what they've lived through: their ups and downs, their striving and failures, the tragedies they've encountered and still forged ahead.
For this part of my work, I am deeply grateful today.