Monday, July 9, 2007


Hillcrest is really hard for me. I find myself watching the clock, trying to want to be there...

I feel pressure to create this wonderful, fun, interactive, helpful but still enjoyable program to help MS patients' memory. Oh wait, I'm not a miracle worker. (I'm a little sarcastic right now, forgive me).

I called my mom and got a great idea for this game. You tell a story with the words "right" and "left" in it and each time you say left or right everyone passes an object to the left and/or right. It's usually a white elephant exchange game at Christmas, but instead I made up a story about the "Wright" family and their trip to Yosemite, and instead of gifts I brought in a bunch of my camping gear and included all the items in the story.

It's really hard to create a program/activity for people who are often on opposite ends of the spectrum mentally and who are all slowly declining in their physical abilities. Something as easy as passing a flashlight is difficult to impossible for some of them. Despite help from other volutneers things dropped, the story got held up...etc. The fun part about this game (when it works) is that you're constantly going back and forth. (John Wright, and Billy Wright Left Right on time for the Wright family reunion). Well I realized this was a little difficult and frustrating for some, so I skipped over and ad libed parts of the story to eliminate some of this crazy passing (the actual fun part about the game). This means everything went much faster, and some parts of the story I simply deleted. Our 1 hr session that everyone is usually already 20 min late for was suddenly over in 15 minutes. Thank goodness for Jessie and her flute.

I have all these thoughts running through my mind...what if the story had been longer and more interesting and funnier. What if I had taken a creative writing class at some point in my 17years of education. What if I were funny. What if I had just asked a funny friend to help me. What if I hadn't waited until the last minute to plan this! Nouwen's words are flooding into my heart right now....scratch that...God is trying to whisper to me "you are worth more than the results of your efforts". But the hard part about that is, I'm not sure I'm entirely concerned about my worth...I want to help!!! I don't feel like I'm doing anything. I'm just wasting an hr of these patients' time to improve their memory. On top of that, the realist in me says, "their memory is slowly declining and will continue to do so". I can try to teach strategies for remembering things and make it practical for their daily lives...but they have 24hr care...they don't really need to remember anything on their own. Then I remember that I'm recieving compensation for this, and that money is going straight from the MS society back to Hope for Long Beach...but because of that $$ I feel like I can't just go in there and make people laugh...

What's funny is that just a few hours before 10am I felt this was going to be a blast. I had props, I had visions of laughter and felt like this was easy but not boring...I knew that they loved guessing old songs last Monday, but I wanted to come up with something new, not just do the same thing each week.

Rewind: last Friday Michelle and Ron and Beverly played Boggle with me. I kinda felt the same way it was just a dud. Ron came up with the occassional 5 letter word none of us saw like TULIP. This guy can barely talk and he was whipping my butt in Boggle. if only his mouth would catch up to his brain. Still I felt that I could have done more...and then this morning Michelle asked what the name of that game was. Despite the fact that she wasn't the greatest at it, she said she really enjoyed it. Looks like my attempts to determine whether or not the program I've created was fun or exciting are both unreliable and futile. Who cares!? me. that's the problem.

Jesus, help my unbelief. Maybe the miracle you desire has nothing to do with their brain circuitry. Maybe the miracle is in the friendships, the laughter, the Let me recieve your grace, but do not let that grace create a spirit of laziness. I want to work hard. I want to put time and energy and creativity into've called me to that. Thank you for the patients at Hillcrest. For their willingness to have a 23 yr old that could be their grandchild tell them what to do, and for Anita and Lordis and Jane and their ability to light up the room with their wit and their humor. for Ruthie and Rockney and Michelle's gratitude and thankful spirits. for the people who have much more resilience and patience than I've acquired in my years and who spend thier lives with these patients every day.

The sermon at church was from 1 Corinthians 12 yesterday. The thing that we tend to do with that passage (most Christians today) is to pray to receive spiritual gifts. To recieve the gift of tongues, faith, healing, etc. We take quizzes and classes to determine which present we got or can win from Santa God. But the context of the passage is much different. The church in Corinth was writing to Paul concerning spiritual "things" (gifts isn't really the Greek word used) that were already in existence among the members of the body, to understand how to use these for the work of the Kingdom...they were not writing concerning things of the past that they desired to somehow acquire. It was later in the sermon when Pastor Lou was talking about charisma in particular that something he said hit me. Charisma is NOT received or possessed by the charismatic person. it is received by the person the charismatic individual acts towards. SO, any spiritual "gift" I have isn't really something I ever have or own. I'm merely the way or the middle person that God uses so that this spiritual "thing" might be used to bless another. Lord grant me understanding and humility, and patience with myself when I don't understand and when I am not humble.

Thank you for your truth.


Christi said...

ymmmm so rich....I love it chelle! You are building relationships that feel like nothing and may only last a summer...but the impact these people leave on you will enrich and change your life. The favorite part of my day is asking if "I can get you anything" running to get ice or crackers or juice and then begining a 2 week or 12 hour friendship. This "frienship" is the only thing that makes my day worth it. You are doing an awesome job!

Christi said...

ps did you cut your hair?

sacredmoments said...

I totally know what you feel about feeling like you are forced to be there...I was feeling the same way. Definately something I need to spend time praying about. I know its hard, I love you