Sunday, December 26, 2010

Full Circle (and then some)

A follow up to yesterday's post

From my distant vantage point in the cardio-loft high above the work-out level, I didn't notice just how the muscular young man ended up on the floor of the gym between his wheelchair and a piece of exercise equipment. Considering the way he was attempting to haul his legs about with his arms and pull himself up a bar it was easy to assume he was purposely doing some kind of exercises that required ground level. It wasn't obvious that he was in a bit of trouble until the wheelchair rolled even further away. Possibly he could have managed to do it himself eventually and undoubtedly would have preferred to be able to, but, within seconds a couple of able-bodied young buffs left their muscle-making-machines to assist. He allowed them to hoist him genially back to his chair, send him on his way with a hearty slap to the back (thus bringing him back to the manly world of physical toughness), and return to their sweating without a backward glance (giving him a chance for get-away without drawing further spectacle to himself).

All those who had observed the whole scene, with politely-averted eyes, had a guarded relief on their faces. And, though they kept their faces expressionless, the two young hard-bodies couldn't have felt other than glad to have a chance to help. And appropriately so. Ater all, the strong SHOULD help the weak, right? Check out Romans 15:1. And even Jesus said it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). Yep, everybody felt good again. Especially about helping him retain his dignity.

So, how fair is that? The guy in the wheelchair never gets the bigger blessing. WRONG! He is constantly in a position to give people a chance to feel good about themselves. He is actually giving the most here. Hard to tell just who is the strong one.

Funny how life happens. Shortly after this incident I ran into an applicable quote* by Frances Young, a British theologian, and more than that, a mom to a handicapped son.

"The key, it seems to be, is in establishing a reciprocal relationship with the handicapped. The most fundamental aspect of this is the recognition, not that we are doing them good, but that they are doing something for us"

We all already know that of course. As it says in Proverbs 11:17, "The man who is kind does himself a favor." Nothing wrong with that at all. I'd just like to see the word also at the end of that Bible sentence. Because none of it negates the importance of performing the kindess to begin with.

*The quote was in a different book, but it was cited there as coming from page 179 of Samuel Wells's Improvisiation: The Drama of Christian Ethics (Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2004)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Secrets of the Season

Every year of adulthood I've pondered again what would make Christmas most meaningful to me. Wouldn't I just LOVE to feel free to "squander" all the resources we devote to the season on the less fortunate. Some things are hard to justify while there is hunger in the world. But, of course, I remember childhood. And, as long as my kids expect the whole shebang, we'll be giving it to them as best we can. Grown up as they are, they aren't 100 percent beyond materialism yet. Don't think they are ready for a family mission trip instead of gifts yet! I've tried to suggest it. Went over like a lead balloon. Ah well, some say that "Do-gooders are just getting their own needs fulfilled" anyway. Maybe so, but Jesus didn't seem to care about that when he indicated that the giving is more blessed than the getting. I'm not denying that the giver gets the bigger gift. (That certainly has been the experience of DH and myself plenty of times). But, the beauty of it is-EVERYONE wins.

Brings a memory from my home care nursing days....

I was a "fill-in" nurse. That means, I did not carry my own patient load. I did admits, in-patient assessments for suitability for home care, and, mostly, filled in for other nurses when they were over-loaded or had a rare day off. So, it was not unusual for one of the case-managers to ask me to run by and check on her patient that afternoon. What surprised me was that she asked if I could pick up something at McDonald's for him. Because, as she explained, he was on such a limited income that he sometimes had to choose between food and medications etc. Oh, it was no surprise at all that she had been bringing him food. Most of the team was prone to go the extra mile like that. But, MCDONALDS??? Come on, these people are sick already. I'm not likely to add to anyone's possibility of demise by giving them Mcdonalds! So, without telling her, I zipped by home and threw together a tuna fish sandwich and a bowl of chicken noodle soup for him. OK, it wasn't "health" food, but it was what I had on hand in a hurry-and a far cry better than Mickey D! Soup was in a snap top container that I figured she could retrieve from him on the next visit.

Back down to the grubby center part of town where his weekly rental motel was located. No-one answered repeated knocks on his door. No one answered his phone. I could hear it ringing and ringing. The manager at the front desk offered me a key, but, I was afraid of what I'd find in there. Made the desk man go with me. Peaked inside and....empty. BUSTED! He is supposed to be home bound to get home care nursing per medicare guidelines. "Oh, he went down the street to get cigarettes", explained a neighbor. Double busted! Knowing that he won't get another nurse visit to collect the dish, I make a quick decision to leave the food anyway. It would just go bad in the hot car while I visit other patients. (But, if he can afford to smoke......)

Back in the office later that afternoon a bunch of us nurses were doing our charting when the receptionist came in the room with a funny look on her face. Our patient had called in literally weeping with gratitude that someone had cared enough to make him a sandwich and a bowl of soup! No one had ever made a "home cooked meal" for him before. One.sandwich.and.a.bowl.of.soup. We all kind of gaped at each other in wonderment and a little bit of heart-break. It was one of those many moments where NOT many words were needed for us to know each other's minds.

Yes, we were blessed more than the patient.

(Per strict Medicare guidelines, he no longer qualified for the program and got a prompt discharge.)

No, I never got my dish back.

I think I can spare it.

Friday, July 02, 2010

This is fun

From the blogger at May's Day, I got this idea.

Finish the statements

If I could say one thing to myself 10 years ago it would be to trust my gut instinct regarding our financial investments.

My favorite place in the world has spectacular scenery and nice weather
The movie I watch when I want to laugh does not exist. It usually happens serendipitously.

No one knows I have a "secret sunny site" which is open to no-one but me (NOW they know!).

I feel healthy when I get enough exercise.

I feel saner when I am not too busy.
If I could do anything else for a living I'd...a living couldn't be made on the things I'd do.

Exercise routine
These two words don't belong together. Exercise is meant to be fun and varied. How can that be routine?

Proudest moment in my career
This one is not applicable. Both my career (homemaker) and job (nurse) have more humbling than proud moments.

My dad always told me "There is a right way and a wrong way to (fill in the blank). He was wrong, of course. Turns out there are many right ways, and many wrong ways too.

My mom was right about the importance of self-confidence.

The lesson I keep learning over and over is that love is totally worth the sacrifices it requires.

I wish I had more time for MYSELF

My great unfulfilled dream is non-existant...yet.

Real contentment is a paradox. Of course, it is a blessing, but too much can prevent further development.

One of my favorite quotations is ...many (for example, see at the bottom of one of my other blogs), but most recently
"To the outside world we all grow old. But not to brothers and
sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each others'
hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and
secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time"
Clara Orteg

(taken from the blog of Inland Empire Girl, who also did this activity)