my hot date

Last Thursday I had the opportunity to work at the Area Wide Residence Council... it is a function where all the Residence Councils of local nursing facilities (that's the pc term for a nursing home) get together to honor one another, have a great meal, and play a mad game of BINGO. Every local facility brought 1-10 residents... so there were A LOT of people there.

I hadn't planned on helping with the event, but a last minute email of desperation changed my mind and I volunteered. Driving there on Thursday I prayed that the Lord would help me be a little bit of Jesus to the people that would be there. That He would help me to take time out of the busyness to sit down, have a conversation, look these amazing folks in the eyes, and let them know that we really do care about them. They are not forgotten. They are valued.

The morning started off with assisting people into the building. Walking along with sweet ladies and their walkers, there was plenty of time for a conversation. Pushing wheelchairs there was always something to talk about. And when everyone was in there was certainly time to sit and chat with people from all over the area. There was an award presentation (one of the awards is incidentally named after my uncle- Kenneth Talley- who was a pretty cool cat on the nursing home scene in his day!). Then a yummy meal. And then....

drum roll please.........................................................................

Elvis entered the building. Yep. Elvis (ie Bruce Borders). And there are really no words to describe how much these people love Elvis. Suffice it to say they love him a lot.

I was standing in the back of the room watching the fun when this gentleman in a green cardigan wheeled up to me.

"How old do you think I am" he asked.

If you ever find yourself in this position, shoot at least 15 years below their actual age. It's a trick of the trade. "Oh, I don't know.... 72???"

"Nope! I'm 89 years old!!! Will be 90 soon" clearly delighted that I was so horribly wrong.

"Well goodness gracious! You're getting around great! And still as sharp as a tack!" I replied with great gusto and enthusiasm.

"I can walk, want to see?"

At this point I start to stutter and make eye contact with his aide, standing directly behind him. Sometimes it's not safe for people to hop up out of their wheelchairs, and that's what this fella was in the middle of doing... her lack of concern indicated that it was okay, so I offered my hand for stability... and sure enough, he stood up, took a few shuffling steps, turned to me and said...

"Want to dance?"

Weeeelllll, now.... The smooth sounds of Elvis... a distinguished older man in a green cardigan... OF COURSE I WANTED TO DANCE!

Taking his hands I told him that of course I'd love to dance. And dance we did. No slow dance either, we were dancing to "Don't be cruel". He led me around in circles, arms going up and down with the beat of the music. It wasn't a long dance as he tired quickly... but it was so much fun.

And it made me cry. Because I'm a nerd like that. I made him promise to come back next year, because I'd never danced with a 90 year old before. So it's a date. Don't tell Jim ;)

This is the interesting thing... All the while that day I had asked God to allow me to be a little bit of Jesus to someone. And it turns out... this fellow was a little bit of Jesus to me instead. Isn't that how it always seems to work?

1 comment:

Carol said...

Awww...I was glad to get to the part where you said you cried, because I was getting teary-eyed reading about it. What a beautiful story!