Destiny or Blind Luck?

April 10, 2020

I’ve been thinking about how the events of late regarding the Covid-19 virus reminds me of a movie. Was it ordained by God or rather by some hate monger? What are we meant to learn from it? I see both sides of nature with some people being evil hoarding goods for themselves while others try to share in any way they can. One thing that I know for sure is that we will not be the same, nor will the world ever again. Is this the Apocalypse we are living through? Is it the new world on the other side?

It’s said that when the 10 lost tribes of Israel are found the Apocalypse will begin. They have been found by an Israeli historian. The story is on Amazon and is a great video. But according to the Jewish religious beliefs, it’s not the end but the beginning of the new age. (Check out Amazon for the back story).

Just last month, when I was leaving Buenos Aires 3 days early from my vacation, just hours before the Argentine government closed the borders; hundreds of people were in line many hours early for the last flight back to the US – the one I was on to DC. Many people were then making connections to other parts of the country. There were 12 airports doing testing prior to allowing entry – I had selected routing through Houston – the only airport, as it turned out, that was not doing testing. Those other airports had lines many hours long. I went through quickly. After a 17 hour journey, it would have been horrible to wait in line for hours. Was I lucky or was it ordained?

While I was in the check in line in BA, people were in panic mode. They weren’t thinking straight. I found out I could print my luggage tags at a kiosk rather than wait so long in the main line. So someone watched my bags while I went over to the kiosk and printed my baggage tags. Putting them on is pretty simple. One merely peels the paper strip apart, put one end through the handle and stick the two pieces together. Several groups of elderly people were holding the tags in their hands with empty looks on their faces. As I gazed at these people who clearly needed help, I began to ask if they’d like me to assist in putting the tags on to speed things up. Their empty looks turned into big smiles as I was handed their luggage tags as this single gesture became an act of service. In turn, I was given a rare opportunity to feel good in the midst of a crisis situation. In addition, as I periodically looked up, I could tell that my efforts were being noticed by the United Airlines staff who, with their eyes told me that they appreciated the support too.

I did get home and have been doing safe distancing for these last four weeks. I do appreciate having food and enough money to pay my bills. I know that it could be months that we need to stay inside. I plan to organize my day to do what I can by dividing my time between being active and resting, talking and writing. The hours will go by. At least men are not shooting at us. We are not going to gas chambers. But I’m in the high risk category by virtue of my age. My wish is to live through it, to stay busy, and be of service where I can.

 What do you hope for? Comments are always welcome.

Hospice – Being of Service

October 1, 2013

Last month I took training for Hospice. It wasn’t easy; even during the sessions I felt emotional as the instructor described the possible scenarios we might encounter in working with those predicted to have only 6 months to live.

ImageNext came the time to select my first client patient. The Volunteer Coordinator sent out a number of emails with possible hospice patient selections. I picked one that was in a reasonable geographic location: and a day that I was available. After preparing myself by making sure I had the necessary paperwork with me, the emergency phone numbers of the hospice organization, and review of this particular client patient’s information, I left home with some in trepidation.
Having arrived, I settled in with my first hospice assignment.

The gentleman had dementia and seemed to feel chatty, in that he wanted to share stories from many time periods in his lifetime. Several stories in particular are worth noting. He seemed to be giving me an overview of his life telling me about how he met his wife, about his children, and some other stories from his childhood. I mentioned that I had a cat in passing just to have a subject to talk. He then decided to tell me about cats that his father had when he was a young man. Unfortunately, his father decided that the 12 cats he had at the time were too numerous and asked his son (this man) to dispose of some. My patient then described in great detail how he took these poor little creatures, put them in a bag, and drowned them in the family pond! I realized that it may have been a painful memory for him; perhaps something that he regretted but he didn’t describe it that way.

It was extremely difficult for me to sit there and listen to the story when I wanted to scream running out of the room in horror thinking of my dear little cat that I love so much in any possible harm coming to him. I love my little rescue guy so much – he’s like a child to me. The emotions that I feel for my little cat were brought up when this patient told me the story from his childhood.
We were taught not to react to anything that the patient says so I had to squash my feelings and just sit there as if he was reading the paper or reciting a shopping list. I had to keep reminding myself of my higher purpose for being there; that I was helping his wife take a break in her caregiving which had been constant for many months. By definition, the doctors had said he was within 6 months of the end of his life. He didn’t seem that frail to me, but then how would I know.

Anyway, I did my best to keep him company and to talk to him as I was there for 3 hours. Eventually I let him rest while I went back to my book. This was how it went for my first hospice visit. Needless to say, it wasn’t an easy visit, nor was it a comfortable experience. That said, it was a blessing for him and for his wife that I was there to assist.

So being of service by volunteering for hospice is not an easy thing to do. It is definitely a higher calling and one that must be carefully thought out before an individual goes down this path. There are great challenges in doing this kind of work. In the end, my first patient taught me that I had done the right thing and that I was moving forward on my soul path since when there is a challenge we challenge ourselves to move forward spiritually.

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