Many years ago I had a head on collision with myself. Did you ever stop to take a look at yourself and not recognize what you saw?
It happened shortly after I applied for work at St. Paul of the Cross Monastery Manor, a residence for the elderly. It wasn’t that I felt all that charitable towards old people, it was more a need to earn more money to supplement my husband’s income.
When I was told to start work the following Monday I walked away with mixed feelings. The thought of making some extra money was good; but the idea of working with old people scared and repulsed me.
You see, ten years earler I worked in a nursing home. My job lasted only 5 months. To me old folks were lonely, senile, messy and very difficult The only thing they do is wait to die and make everyone else miserable while they do it.
I always thought of myself as a good person. I do care about others, although it isn’t too apparent in my thoughts about the elderly.
The prayer I offered to God was a plea for help. I had uneasy memories of my experience in the last nursing home. Perhaps this uneasiness flowed from my own fears of facing myself and my own old age and death.
As I got to know the residents, I came to know life in all of its naked reality. I came to see love, the love of Christ wandering through those halls in what Mother Theresa calls “the distressing disguise” And the more I helped care for them, the more I could love them.
It’s very interesting and I truly believe that God speaks to us through His people. One little lady, Carrie, ws sitting in her wheelchair in the lounge. I went in to take her to dinner. Now Carrie was a witty, loveable lady, but not always in touch with reality. You could talk to her and she would reply in something totally from left field.
“Hi Carrie! Are you ready to go to dinner?” I asked.
“Are you Catholic?” she replied.
“Yes, I am” I told her.
“That’s good” she said, “Faith ~ you know faith is the most important thing we have! If we don’t have faith, then we don’t have anything”.
Carrie reached out for my hands and gave them a knowing squeeze and flashed me a twinkle from her blue eyes.
What Carrie didn’t realize was that I really needed to hear that, right at that moment. I love how God does that! He speaks to us when we least expect it, so we need to be listening. You never know when it will happen, but I have a sneaky suspicion that it happens all the time!
Sandy Ozanich ~ Copyright 2012