Yesterday morning as I was about to begin, the Activity Director and the Administrator stopped me for a special presentation. They said some kind words of appreciation and gave me this cute gift bag.I was overwhelmed. I wish you could have seen the joyful faces of the residents. They were thrilled! I asked if they would like me to open it right then. A big "yes" and I knew they wanted to enjoy my pleasure with their gift of honor. Chocolate. More chocolate. A sweet "Helping Hands" bookmark. And a framed thank you that nearly brought tears to my eyes. Then, a look at the faces of the residents in wheelchairs all around me and I knew. If they could they would be standing and applauding. I could hardly contain it. These precious people, many who have been part of my life for nearly three years, felt honored and delighted to honor me! And to say thank you!
There are few things that have brought me such joy as the privilege of being a chaplain in healthcare settings, especially in care centers and assisted living homes. To make a difference in the lives of dear people who often feel cut off from life outside. They love to hear of simple things. Things like what I will have for dinner. Or what my family is doing. They long to know what the world is doing while they sit quietly through the long hours each day. Some cannot speak but they respond with a smile or a nod. The ladies love to hear me admire their outfit or their earrings or notice a new hairdo. The gentlemen would deny it but they love to hear me compliment them for their smile or tell them how nice their shirt looks on them. A smile, a chuckle, a nod of the head and I know that they appreciate being noticed as much as you and I do.
Yesterday as I stood and thanked them for the gifts and the honor they gave me I tried to tell them how I hold them dear to my heart. Words are so inadequate. But they heard it. Just as I heard their applause. Silent applause. Like no other I have ever heard before.