Well, here we go again. I am intending to establish a journaling pattern. I started my “autobiography” on a different blog, (Life and Times of T. Smith) but am feeling a need to do more examining of current thoughts and review of much earlier journaling efforts.
This is mainly due to a feeling of frustration, impatience, etc. in our situation right now. By “our” I mainly mean my but some of this includes Judy. It is frustrating to see Judy want to become more involved in Arts and Crafts, Music, and Bible Study here at Shoreview Senior Living (SSL), but to see her become very tired and frustrated herself in the attempts. She seems to be more successful in working with Bible Study but that is also very tiring and more frustrating for me as different understandings of the passages and background on my part are elicited, but they are too “liberal,” or academic for the group. This dissonance with “the group” is a large part of my frustration.
Of the 130 or so residents here at SSL, I can only identify one person of color. Mohon, a civil engineer who worked mainly in New Jersey, who is in “Memory Care.” In addition, the majority of residents are Roman Catholic ( I suspect mainly of the pre-Vatican II persuasion) or relatively conservative Lutheran. There are a number of strongly “pro-Trump” residents and from VERY brief comments mainly “overheard” (Politics is not a topic discussion heard very often) there are very few who would share many of my environmental, economic, etc. views. In addition, most of the residents seem to be from the Twin Cities area who have done very little travel outside of Minnesota.
These reactions/feelings (much more than extended knowledge) came to the forefront yesterday at a “Food Committee,” which invites all residents on a monthly basis to talk with the Cook regarding meals. There were a few legitimate suggestions that were at least somewhat related to most residents. However, much of the almost 1 hour was taken up by individual complaints such as “I don’t like plain broccoli. Can’t we have a sauce o it, like Alfredo.” This was followed by a number of people describing how much they liked plain broccoli and a few saying how much they liked American cheese poured over it. This went on for a number of minutes. Another person said how much they liked liver and it was a favorite growing up. Then ensued a lengthy session on whether it was “calf’s liver” or “cow’s liver”” and how their mother used to fix it, with a number chiming in how much they would not eat it. Very little relationship was made for most of the discussions on the actual menu items served in the dining room.
I “know” that I should be patient with some of the residents who need a “social time,” but it seemed that the great majority of the time was taken by only 2 or 3 residents, there were almost 20 people there, who talked about their one wants and feelings. It is this latter attitude that is most frustrating in that the individuals are ones who make comments regarding how much they are just “trying to help,” but monopolize any discussions with what they feel is best.
My reaction to many of the 80 year old, or so, residents is similar to my reaction to young children. I recognize that the “parallels” are recognizable. However, there are some traits and attitudes which bother me beyond the childlike nature of interactions. What actually prompted me toward putting down my feelings along these lines was the sermon that was preached at the SSL Thanksgiving worship on Monday. The husband of the Activity Director in Senior Pastor at a nearby Missouri Synod Lutheran Church. His sermon was based on the healing of the 10 lepers with the Samaritan leper being the only one to give thanks to Jesus. His main talking point was how the lepers had to keep their distance much as the way in which we tend to keep Jesus at a distance. If we are thankful and recognize the gifts from God then we can draw near to God/Jesus. There is some validity in this and for the most part I could agree with his points. One of his “side comments” as he described was trying to make the message “current.” His main point along these lines was with our “excuses” for not taking time to attend worship or to read scripture while finding time to attend our grandchildren’s games or visiting others. These were seen as “keeping a distance from Jesus.” However, my main thought along drawing near to Jesus was in seeing Jesus in the poor, hungry, oppressed, and imprisoned, as well as the refugees and homeless. The refugees would have seemed to be very relevant in that the “thankful leper” was a Samaritan, about as close to a “foreign refugee” as you could get in Galilee 2,000 years ago. However, this probably would be too “political” for his hearers.
I am unclear on how often I will attempts to record my thoughts and am struggling with my impatience and frustration with typing and trying to think of the right words due to my “age” (not a good excuse/reason) or rather more my “mini-strokes” and idiopathic autonomic and polyneuropathy which requires that I actually watch each stroke on the keyboard since I cannot “feel” or “know” where my fingers are going without watching them.