Letting go of the belief that working in a nursing home was
confining and limiting, I was able to begin a wonderful adventure. Today, I complete my third week of an Administrator in Training (AIT) internship at Union House in my town of Glover. Ultimately, I intend to spend upwards of 1000 hours at this homey facility, where close to 100 people live (44 residents) and work (50+ staff). A year from now, I will take national and state exams to become officially licensed as a nursing home administrator.
Waking up to a glorious sunrise several mornings this week, I was reminded of Macrina's words:
"As one by one the leaves let go, a precious emptiness appears in the trees. The naked beauty of the branches can be seen, the birds' abandoned nests become visible...This is an important autumn lesson---when certain things fall away, there are other things that can be seen more clearly."
A dear young friend wrote me last night about dealing with her father's death, funeral and now, the division of his personal estate. In this most dramatic experience of letting go, she has become much more awake and aware about what it means to live an authentic life. She writes: "Through all of this I have found that I work in a wonderful place. I have kind and compassionate co-workers who have been nothing but supportive. I've had meals brought to me, cards, bubble bath, hugs, thoughts, stories, prayers, and it just doesn't stop! For once, I feel just really accepted and appreciated...I've learned to trust people again, and even let myself count on others. I think that in itself is a big step."
Perhaps, in some fashion, I am also letting myself trust more and count on others. I so enjoy the rhythms of a Union House day, getting to know the strong and fascinating personalities, appreciating the deep and unique relationships. While we all carry labels, such as kitchen staff or maintenance crew, we are, first and foremost, caring individuals.
One afternoon, I caught Jim and Janice sitting quietly in the hall, playing cribbage. I didn't see a resident and the activities director. I saw a a cute couple at a table for two. Isn't this a precious scene?