Sunday, May 27, 2007

Journal entry 5/27/2007

I’m reading a book I picked up at Barnes & Noble last night, Mother Teresa – Her Essential Wisdom, and these small powerful passages are stirring my soul. Her instinct to work among the poorest of the poor, to work with the dying... I feel some of those stirrings too.

Since retirement two years ago, I have been working as a hospice volunteer. At first I began in people's homes. Then I worked one afternoon a week visiting hospice patients in nursing homes. Some of those relationships lasted for months, in one case even a year. Now I am working one afternoon every two weeks in the inpatient unit, a 10 bed unit where the average stay is 6 days. Sometime I will write about how beautiful it is to be there.

In our culture it is lonely and often scarey, the journey of dying. There is such a fear of death that even loved ones do not know how to accompany one who is progressing toward that change. Yet I am drawn to moments like these, where an offering of kindness and companionship is so deep - for both the giver and receiver.

In investigating the complex choices available as Medicare decisions approach for Dan and me, I feel instinctively I want to get the basic bottom-line plan, what any poor elderly person would get. Why should I have special priveleges?

From long experience, I see that every thought I think creates something. Thoughts of my spiritual oneness promote a deep happiness and sense of well-being. I learn to listen to my inner guidance, the Soul of me whispering kindness, humor, and direction. That is a wellspring of life.

I note the food stamp challenge undertaken this month by a handful of congressmen and women – to live for a week on what a poor person receiving food stamps would live on to eat - $21 per week. Eye-opening for them, to say the least. Here's a recent posting on their results:

Then there is Bill McDannell from California, a Vietnam vet and former Methodist minister who feels so strongly about the immoral war in Iraq, that he has sold his home and belongings, and set out to walk across America to deliver his petition to Congress. Now his only home is a small camper truck his wife Jonna drives to follow him. He asks only for a friendly place to park at night to tie into electricity and water. He logs his progress on his computer and uploads it to his website. People he meets join him and sign his petition. I could be tempted to walk a mile with him with my scooter. Here is his petition:

With the arrival of summer, I sort through my clothes, looking to trim away all except the ones I love the most. I don’t need a yard-high pile of shirts! Plus it is such a relief to bring things I no longer need to the Salvation Army.

Soon our old above-ground swimming pool will be opened for the season, hopefully with a new and quieter pump. Swimming is so good for me: I want to take care of my body, make myself available for new life – in whatever form it comes.

I envisioned a new card this morning: You inspire me. And as I think about my eBay card store, which basically has zero activity, I long to take a more radical step with it. Maybe offer cards for $1 each, or even free, or simply the shipping charge. The work is to help people say true and wise things to each other, to uplift and heal. Something is stirring there too.