Thursday, May 31, 2012

Nasty or Nice? by Carolyn

I learned a huge lesson the other day.  I volunteer at a nursing home.  I have been working there for nearly 8 years.  As you would expect, many of my patients have come and gone over the years, but several are still my "ladies."  One in particular is the subject of today's blog.

Kathleen and I have been friends for almost all of those eight years.  Recently, she became very ill.  Because of privacy concerns etc., I am not privy to what ails folks unless there are contagions involved, so I was only told that Kathleen had become very ill. 

When I went to visit I was shocked.  She had changed so much in a week.  She looked smaller, vulnerable and helpless.  Her demeanor seemed different too.  She was very quiet.  She wouldn't look at me.  Her brow was furrowed with deep lines.  I hardly knew what to say to this woman I hardly recognized.  She sat in her wheelchair unmoved and unmoving in a new room devoid of any of her personal things, or anything of a personal nature at all.  No pretty blankets, no pictures, no books, no personal effects.  There was a clean bed with plain white sheets, white pillows and a white blanket on it. 

I kneeled beside her so that I could look directly into her eyes, and took her hand in mine.  We had always had a very good relationship.  I knew all about her childhood and youth.  She grew up on a farm in Ohio with loving parents and grandparents.  She was the first in her family to attend college and she made the best of it.  For years she taught elementary school and her love for children was still so obvious.  She told me story after story about how hard she tried to help every one of them no matter what their race, background, abilities or attributes. She loved them.  She loved all of them.   She and her husband had no children of their own, but to her, each of these children was her "own." She had a "Teacher of Distinction and Excellence" plaque on her wall signed by the superintendent upon her retirement years ago.  She is very proud of that.

But now everything was different.  My heart went out to her.  I asked her how I could pray for her expecting her to say something about endurance, courage, patience, deliverance, all of which would have been perfectly understandable.  She looked me in the eye and whispered, "Pray that I won't lose my sense of humor.  Pray that I won't be nasty."

I was stunned.  For a moment, I was taken completely aback.  Then the tears welled up.  Here was a woman suddenly deprived of everything she knew, a little lady alone and in a lonely place in life.  92 years old, weak and vulnerable, but very, very wise.

"The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools."
                                                                                                                  Ecclesiastes 9:17 


  1. Oh, this is such a profound story. What a woman. What values. What a friend to have.

  2. Oh, this is such a profound story. What a woman. What values. What a friend to have.

  3. Because I am so late in posting my blog entry, I know that there is a happier ending to this poignant story. We know that at 92, or even in our 60s, every day is a gift - but it looks like God has more plans for Kathleen, and for you to enjoy her!

  4. Even at 92 and very ill, if God so plans it, it is entirely possible to "pop" back up as my dear Kathleen has done! Praise God!