Saturday, November 7, 2009

A little story for you.....

I have absolutely no idea why this came to mind yesterday but when it did I thought it would be a great short story to share with you. When I was 19 I had a job at a nursing home.
For three days.
I was a nurses's aide. The third night I had to help hold down an 85 year old woman who had bowel impaction. To be blunt, the nurse had to wear rubber gloves and literally dig the poop out of this poor old lady's butt. Shaking each hard chunk onto a little mat on the side of the bed right next to ME.
I did my duty in the moment, having total compassion for this sweet lady whose sense of dignity was being stripped away with each passing day. But that was my very last day as a nurse's aide. My  mother is a nurse and I was always very proud to say that. Nursing is one of those professions that is just plain noble. I didn't really have dreams of following in my mother's footsteps but if there was any tiny wondering inside of me that experience laid it to rest. Permanently.
But here is the real story:
There was a tiny little bit of a lady that was a resident in this nursing home. Her name was Lucy. Her room looked like none other in that nursing home. No overhead lights, in fact the switch to the overhead light was covered with tape so you couldn't absent mindedly flip it on. The room was dimly lit with antique lamps by her bed and on her dresser. Her dresser was also an anitique with a beautiful mirror attached at the back. Little handmade white doilies everywhere. Her bed was a white canopy and was covered in white sheets, white blankets and you guessed it.....a white bedspread. There must have been at least 15 throw pillows on her bed and each and every one was white. Lucy called them her husbands. She said she never was without a husband until she lived here and she had to have a husband. So the throw pillows were her stand in "husbands". They had to be arranged just so, she was very fussy and particular about how her husbands were handled and displayed. She always wore white cotton nightgowns and had her hair tied up with a white ribbon. Their were stacks of books by her bed and fresh flowers. I assumed at the time she must be very wealthy to live this way. I now know that you can live this beautiful with just a few simple things. You can get beautiful dishes for a dime at the thift store. You can buy an old dresser at a garage sale. Some of my best old linens I have found at the Salvation Army. And those things mean so much to me because even though I don't know the story of some of these items, they do indeed have a story. The expensive things we waste our money on today really aren't that interesting. They were made in a factoy, stored in a warehouse and then sat on shelves getting dusty.
Mass produced and no story to tell.
The three days that I worked there I found myself being drawn to her room. I wanted to hear all about her husbands in the past, her story...where she came from, if she had children, her dreams and most of all I imagined what her home must have looked like if her nursing home room was decorated this way. I have quite a good picture in my mind based on the little I saw in those three days. I have never forgotten her and I think it is because I saw she was a women of substance and style, a bit eccentric but she had standards. She ate her food from a real china plate and her tea from a real cup. She must have had quite a life packed into those 95 years and I am sure she saw many a loss based on the plural use of the word husband. But here she was living in a nursing home, nearing the century mark of her own life and she was still living with such grace and style. It made such an impression on me and I have carried that memory with me all of these years. No matter the circumstance, no matter the loss, no matter the pain, no matter what, do not live your life by the standards of others. Lucy knew that the details in life mattered, it matters what plate you eat your food from, it matters what cup you drink your tea from, it matters where you lay your head and what you wear. Not because we are trying to put on a show for someone but because we are reverent of the life we have been granted. We make the details matter to glorify God and all that is so beautiful in this world
right down to the smallest detail.
Never underestimate how our life can impact another.
Lucy taught me that and so much more in just three short days.


Laura said...

Now THIS is the reason I sign on to facebook each be inspired...uplifted. Thank you.

Jenny said...

Beautiful post! I just found you by way of My Messy Thrilling Life. I was searching for the close of Henrybella's, not knowing it had closed at all.

Your blog is beautiful and I LOVE your new home. I also love homes and floorplans, and after reading your blog, I know there is hope that we will someday have our dream home. Thank you.

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