aelah and I have become volunteers at our local hospital. When I first arrived for an interview I expected to be asked why I wanted my little girl to be involved in this with me. Instead Michelle-- the woman who is head coordinator of events in the seniors wing, told me a story. When she was very small her family took her with them to perform a play at a seniors home nearby. She was so terrified by the creaking wheelchairs and the strange smells that she refused to perform. Her wise mother asked her instead to hand out programs. And by the time she was done walking among the seniors--programs in her tiny hands-- she had "one hundred new best friends."
That, in a nutshell, is my hope for my children. I want them to be filled with love and compassion for the men and women who are now caught in the falling arc of their strength and beauty. I want them to love the weakest of people and never be too proud to do so.
On Wednesday we took Ethel, Daniel, Barry & Catharine for a walk in the sunshine. For some of them this was the first time in months they had breathed fresh outside air. Michelle handed out hats. "Here, Ethel, this one won't mess of your pretty hair. Oh, that really suits you!" Ethel--curlers still tightly wound in her hair-- truly delighted in the outing. She took such pleasure in the huge trees along the Galilee laneway. My job was to push Catharine. A tiny woman who knew everything there was to know about the area. And Catharine soaked up the sunshine. "My blood is thin, I keep my house at 70 degrees. The sun feels good!"
Caelah trotted along beside us all, answering Barry's questions with increasing boldness. It was Caelah's job to keep the door button pressed down so the elevator doors would stop closing on us as we tried to organize the wheelchairs into the small space. "Why can't I push?" she asked as we adults lost our breath struggling up the ramps. Michelle and I talked strategy. Do we wheel the chairs down the steep ramp facing forward or backwards? My usher's experience taught me always to go backwards. But Michelle argued that "we don't have eyes in the back of our heads" and if we were to trip, we would suddenly find ourselves underneath a very heavy wheelchair. We faced forward.
Caelah and I have many days of service in this place ahead of us. We may bake pies or cookies. We might help lead a craft and sing some songs. Whatever we do the fresh young faces of my children will be a a most welcome addition. Michelle repeated several times; "It is so good to see young ones in the place."