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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Pulse of Humanity.

I started my day the last two Tuesdays at a local nursing home and taught yoga and meditation to the residents there. It just always makes me realize how important it is to have people in your life who love you when I'm in a place like that. But you have to also be a person who loves your people a lot... that should help ensure that you have those people around you near and, well, at the end. But, the truth is that we can't ensure anything, can we? What if everyone died before us? What if we get alzheimer's and can't remember anyone? There are things that are variable like this in all of our lives. Roll of the proverbial dice. We can ensure that we have faith and give it to God. We can do our best. We can build our temples in our bodies and minds and hearts and love as much as we can, for as long as we can.

The truth is that there are a lot of people that end up in places like these with no one around in their later years of life. When I was 20 I got a job working in a geriatric psych ward as a nurse's assistant. This was a nice name for a cleaning lady, basically. I did most of the dirty jobs like changing bed pans and sheets and holding dirty hands. And you know what, I didn't care one bit. I didn't even think about it because more than caring about that stuff, the people who needed the help seemed like such the bigger priority.

Certain people are just built for different things. I think most people might not have stayed past the day I interviewed, looking back. On the day of my interview, I walked into those double locked doors that I had to be buzzed into. There was a whiteness as you entered that I had never encountered before. The whiteness of a clinical setting. Bright. Quiet with the hum of music in the background. I still remember walking past the eating area of the ward where a few patients were sitting randomly. One man was being fed his morning coffee by a nurse, as he couldn't do it himself. I remember being struck by the vulnerability of not being able to drink your own coffee. And by the beauty of someone helping him to do that.

I walked up to the desk and there was a woman sitting on a bench with a robe on. She looked depressed. She then stood up and completely opened her robe, exposing her naked chest underneath while being very verbal. I averted my eyes but it was obvious what she was doing to my left. I told the nurses behind the desk that I was there for an interview and the woman, with her robe half on/half off, walked straight over to me with a purpose. She said something like, 'thank god you're here,' as if she had been waiting for me. We immediately sat down and talked and the head nurse said that when she saw that, she knew she wanted me to work on her floor. 

I felt honored to have been chosen, even though the work was by no means glamorous.  The job only lasted 8 months for me, only because the psych floor had lost funding and jobs had to be cut. I didn't want to work anywhere else in the hospital. I even tried for a few weeks and ended up running to my car at the end of each day because I absolutely hated the same job in different areas of the hospital. It was those particular people who called to my heart there. And that experience will stay with me forever. 

Day 8, #writeeverydamnday #justwrite 

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