I am grateful to have the opportunity to share some of my experiences here at Dock Woods during the pandemic.
There have been times in recent months when I have wondered if we would ever be able to hug each other again, and come and go freely without concern of spreading or receiving the unwelcome virus. Yes, our lives have changed of course, but there is one thing that has not—God’s presence and his love. I have a prayer of protection which really touches me: The light of God surrounds me, the love of God enfolds me, the power of God protects me, the presence of God watches over me, wherever I am God is.
Although I have always felt blessed to live here, I have never in 14 years been so aware of the Christ-spirit expressed by both the staff and residents. Jesus’ teachings are evident in this community.
The last time I was volunteering in Country Cottage, one of the women who is confined to a wheelchair, requires help with eating, and is nonverbal, squeezed my hand as I was saying goodbye. She indicated with her body language that my hand was cold, which it was. She pulled me closer to her by my sweater and then tried to wrap my sweater around me. How precious that was. It was a God moment to me.
Thirteen residents gleefully accepted the opportunity to write notes of appreciation to staff members. One woman was challenged by the lack of function in her fingers. Cursive writing was impossible she said, but she would try printing, which she did. She persevered until she finished all her notes. It was a labor of love.
As part of the new Montessori approach in dementia, seven more people eagerly filled shoe boxes for each person in Country Cottage with objects that reflected his/her special interests. The plan is to do the same in Harmony House.
One of our residents walks around Dock Gardens every evening with towels and sanitizer to wipe off such things as buttons in the elevators, door handles, and chair rails. One of the men takes the morning shift to do the same thing. I won’t give you the name of the woman who works at night because she also bakes. I love to see her coming with her little package of goodies.
Weather permitting, another neighbor invites two guests to join her on her patio for lemonade and conversation. I won’t give you her name either.
I never heard of National Doughnut Day, National Sugar Cookie Day, or Tapioca Pudding Day. I think those in dining services made them up so that they had a reason to put those treats in our food packages that day.
It feels good to know that our two pastors walk around our community in prayer, supporting us spiritually. It feels good when our music therapist has a sing-along for us. It feels good when our life enrichment staff keeps us entertained, mentally nourished. It feels good that our fitness guru gives us the opportunity to stay active—watch Channel #2. It feels good to know that our environmental staff still fixes stuff that’s broken, housekeeping still keeps our inside world clean, sanitized, and in good shape. Our CEO continues to keep us up to date with the coronovirus. He is a great role model of integrity, compassion, and leadership. Another blessing.
The list goes on and on. I am aware of the fact that we residents differ in our politics and theology, but what I have also observed is the fact that we do not seem to let that bother us when we are busy showing our love and compassion for each other as God’s children. I think that is what Jesus would want us to do.
Also there are times when we can’t change our circumstances, but we can always change our attitude toward the situation, and be open to the good and the joy that is all around us. Bless you as you continue your journey.