One morning I received a life changing experience.
This occurred when I returned to the hospital after the mandatory break due to the COVID restrictions. I work as a Palliative Care volunteer one day a week which was moved from a weekday to a Saturday. I realised later that there was a purpose to this.
I had what I call a revelation, a wake up to equality that day.
I love and get great joy and much appreciation for what I offer and what I receive from the patients I visit. Up to this day, I championed my body in comparison to the patients I am visiting, patients with life-ending diseases, and that was the ‘awe-ha’ moment – the word patients felt different somehow in my body.
I realised I had been seeing them as different from myself because of their physical appearance and their inabilities. Serving and caring for patients who are at times actually younger than myself gave me the right to think that I offered more. Separation is the ugliness of arrogance and ignorance.
Until now I did not see them other than as patients, not as extraordinary ordinary human beings who experienced much through life as we all do. This was a huge realisation for me. As I walked through the corridors and wards of the hospital my footsteps changed. I looked and felt totally different in respect to others as I came to see them as equal, not less, because of their frailty and vulnerability and definitely not because they came under the word ‘patient’.
Many see us as useless when we are not able to do things for ourselves as we once could, yet hold on here, when we are babies, we are not able to do anything for ourselves, yet we do not get thrown out with the bath water, so why when we are ageing are we seen as useless?
What I see, what I express, what I appreciate now is that I feel everyone is equal, and only then does God become apparent.
Why do we treat each other with such arrogance and ignorance when equality can be the truth in response? Why do we get side-tracked into performing and doing, constantly looking outside ourselves to gain a false sense of security-based contentment?
No matter how much we achieve in our work world, in our financial world, in our personal security-based protected world, when it comes time for our body to be in that hospital bed – and most of us will be there before we pass over – all the prestige, all the money in the world cannot pay someone to take your bed. Talk about raw truth.
The moment one feels endless, not useless, your whole world has a totally different outlook.
We live today responsible for every move we make, every step we take, because there is no tomorrow, it just becomes another today. We live, we leave, and we come back again to retrace our previous steps. Let us make them steps of joy!
Ask a child about what it is they enjoy, and it is always in that moment, for there is no tomorrow or yesterday not even today for they are in the ever-expanding moment within themselves in their movements. Their joy is contagious. It is magical to have the realisation of this deep joy and feel this reactivation within our bodies, whenever it occurs.
Again, it is all about the reflection of joy – Joy in Ageing. An elder’s reflection is something to behold when the joy within is ignited and alive.
As elders, we are forever changing, yet remaining the same within, while joyously becoming more aware every day of the Joy in Ageing.
Elizabeth D., Nova Scotia
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