I arrived home earlier this evening from my out-of-town training. The training sessions were wonderful. Great information. Incredible new friends. A corporation of people who really care about the quality of life of the residents in their facilities. I was impressed to hear it from the hearts of the CEO and the management team and to see that it trickled down throughout the organization. They were excited to meet us. We were treated like royalty. Like very special people. We were the fulfillment of a long-awaited dream. We were welcomed and thanked and appreciated and valued many times over. By the time we said goodbye each of us, the new chaplains, knew we were part of a team.
I am impressed with the quality and character of the other chaplains. We all come from different backgrounds yet we share so much in common. The desire to help meet the needs of the people we will serve. A bond formed between us in a very short time. We are looking forward to more time. We will keep in touch often through email. To share knowledge and information. Encouragement and support.
After our training sessions ended yesterday afternoon I checked into the hotel, changed my clothes and headed out for an adventure. I stopped to buy flowers and drove several miles to the beautiful cemetery where my sweetheart's mother and father were laid to rest. After I placed the flowers on their headstone I walked around through the family plot and reminisced about each of the sweet people who have gone on before us. A precious grandmother and grandfather. A dear aunt and uncle. Such a part of my life after my sweetheart and I were married. The cloud formations above were incredible. What a serene place to be after a busy day. Alone with my thoughts. And my memories.
I lived in the Eugene area for nearly five years when I was in Jr. High and most of High School. Last evening I drove around the area to see the 'old' places. The church where my father was the pastor. The tiny parsonage next door that was our home. (My dear mother planted that tree shortly after we moved there. It was so small!)I saw homes in the neighborhood where I spent many hours babysitting young friends. I remembered them as they were. I wondered where they are now. I drove around the community and found some of the homes where I spent special times with friends. Then a short distance to the school where I went through my Jr. High years.Not much had changed.The classroom areas brought back such memories. Corridors seemed to be filled once again with my friends from long ago.A ways farther I found the school where I spent most of my high school years. It is not the same. Completely different. A fire many years ago destroyed the wooden structure that housed the rooms where I spent so much time. The new building was placed on the property in a totally different pattern. The main entrance is on a completely different street than before. The old main entrance has been replaced by houses.A sports complex sits where the old classroom wings used to be. Nothing familiar remained. But one thing hadn't changed. The football field and stadium were exactly as I remembered them! They held so many memories. Friday nights in the stands, cheering for our team. Time spent with friends sharing a common goal. To see our team win!I will return to that area again for more training and chaplain team meetings. I have already planned my next adventure into the neighborhoods of my former hometown. A beautiful historic district filled with wonderful old homes. A venture out a ways to the home where my sweetheart lived as a toddler. To appreciate and enjoy the old places that were part of our lives. Places dear to our hearts. Filled with so many memories. Sweet memories.