Sunday, November 29, 2009

Life, Love And Learning

The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart. - Helen Keller

I am not sure I can adequately express what I want to, but I am going to try.

The children at church took a walk across the street with their teachers today to sing some songs for the residents of the rest home there. First we walked the halls, holding hands and singing a few familiar favorites, bringing some residents to their doorways to share a smile or offer a wave as we passed by.

We continued to the main gathering room where we congregated on a stage to present a few more numbers. As we stood there singing, I looked out over the crowd. The faces I saw were happy, almost lit up with joy. And why? Because some children that they didn't even know were there to sing some songs for them.

My heart ached for these people, despite their currently pleasant demeanor. Thoughts raced through my mind. Why were they here? Did they have family? If so, did they come to visit? Were they lonely? Hurting? Sad? Scared? Where would I be when I reached that stage of my life? I continued to stand there, mouthing the words to each song along with the crowd of kids, but not actually singing for fear that my emotions would come to the surface. I am not sure how to describe what was going on inside of me except to say that I felt a great deal of love towards our audience.

When we were finished with our music we turned to exit the room. Residents of the home waved farewell, smiling, some calling out things like, "Such beautiful children!" and "Come again!"

I wanted to take the time to hug each person there, to tell them that they were loved and important. But I didn't. Not only for fear that I would become emotional but also because it was time to get back - time to sit in my classroom with the sweet 5-year-olds who I have stewardship over each week. Time to teach the lesson that I had prepared.

As we gathered back at the church and settled down for class I had a similar emotion overtake me, only this time it was one of love and appreciation for each of the kids in my class. I am uncomfortable crying in front of others and welcomed the distraction of Little O being brought to me right then as I don't think I would have been able to hold back what was threatening to emerge.

As I walked through the halls of the church, my little boy in my arms, I continued to think over the things I had felt. And I realized something. At the rest home as well as in my classroom, I was not edifying them. They were edifying me, offering me a glimpse of things that I needed to see and feel.

In reality, they were the ones teaching me the lessons today.

Lessons about the power of music and the love of mankind and the ties that bind us all together.

Remembering to count my blessings.

And none of that even comes close to sharing what I really feel.


Katie said...

It's amazing how much life teaches us in the most unusual ways. I had a grandma at that rest home for years and while she is not there now, I know how much things like that meant to her while she was. So to you and all the others that went, I say thank you. It means so much to the families of those people. Thank you a million times over.

Anaise said...

When Julie was a baby, we "adopted" a grandma at a local rest home. She had no family--no one! I'd pack up four very small girls once or twice a week to go visit her. As we'd walk through the common areas, everyone would come up to us--they wanted to touch the children. They wanted contact with life! Even though the constant efforts to reach out and touch them freaked my kids out, they wanted to go back again and again--some part of them knew how important it was.

Unfortunately it ended when our "grandma" got sick and had to be moved to a more intensive care facility, but because we weren't family, HIPA regulations meant we couldn't be told what happened to her, and she simply disappeared from our lives.

Now we have church grandmas and our grandma has come to live with us, so we haven't reached out to nursing home grandmas lately . . . perhaps that is something we ought to remedy.

Gerb said...

Katie- Amen! I love visiting the rest home there. I always leave feeling like I got more out of it than the people I visited.

Anaise- It always means so much to them to have children come. I am lucky because ours is only a block away and I can send my kids over anytime. It's pretty great to have such a simple way of bringing happiness to others.

Anonymous said...

I have that same worry all the time about my future.

Rache5 said...

We are lucky to have the care center so close and those residents do need us. I'm sure many of them are lonely and need the lift that the spirit brings them through music. I wish I could've gone. I had just cared for a patient there on Sat. and told her we were coming to sing. She was such a sweet lady too!