Thursday, May 15, 2008

Inspired By My Elders

Last evening, my friend Dena and I spoke to a lovely group of seniors at Well Spring Assisted Living Community in Greensboro. These folks wanted to hear our presentation on the topic of "Passing Down Your Family Stories." Many in the group filled shoe boxes with photos, notes, and letters, expressing interest in writing their memoir. A few were storytellers. Others, just came for the pure entertainment of it. One thing for sure, it was fun! I'd return in a heartbeat. Even to just sit and talk with these folks.

Dena and I could've listened to their stories for hours. Some were retired professors, teachers, homemakers. One man wanted to write his own obituary. They were interested in how to get started and I think we helped them with advice like--set aside ten minutes a day to just jot down notes and memories in a notebook. Keep your pen and paper handy because you never know when inspiration will strike. Develop a ritual. Find your own writing spot and train yourself to enter it at the same time every day. Make it a good habit. Use your five senses--allow them to dig into the cobwebbed corners of your memory. On and on ... we spoke for an hour, answered questions, laughed, and then ... we listened.

What we took home from this beautiful facility, was the warmth of these folks. They reached out and we reached back to embrace them, encourage them. In return, they removed a little bit of our apprehension of growing old. It's scary to many of us who lead full lives with so much left to do. But for me, I looked out over the room of beautifully lined faces, and realized these people were happy. Really happy. They're content. They've lived, loved, and learned how to accept the fact that old age can be a beautiful place to be. One woman told me they're all busy, every day. That's one of the reasons she came to hear Dena and me. To figure out how to squeeze more time out of her schedule in which to write!

This gorgeous facility gives these folks not only a sense of security, but of family, and purpose. How wonderful. Yes, it's truly more blessed to give than to receive, but in this case--I enjoyed receiving inspiration from these gracious senior citizens.

I suppose my point is that although we went to Well Spring to give of ourselves, we took with us even more than we gave. My heart is full this morning.

Don't you just love it when that happens?

Blessings to you and yours.

1 comment:

Lindsay Arnold said...

Wow... so your blog stumbled into my emails through a co-worker, and thank you so much for saying such kind words about Well-Spring. It's always nice to know that the residents make our guests feel welcome and you walked away learning something about them. Hearing things like this just make me love my job even more!