The Christmas Program That Almost Wasn’t

Was it a coincidence or was it a gift from God? We had the poem called, “Twas the Night of Christ’s Birth,” by Donna Miles. We had the costumes that we borrowed from a local church. We had the idea of reading the poem and letting children bring it to life by posing for many different scenes in the poem as it was read. We had the second part of the program rehearsed and ready. The resident choir was ready to sing carols after the poem was read. What we didn’t have yet, were the children to wear the costumes and be in the program.

On the day of the practice for the program one child was there. Due to this disappointing turn out for the practice session I posted more signs and talked to lots of people asking them to bring their children to work to participate in the program on Wednesday. (I thought to myself “we can do this without a rehearsal, right?”) I was not ready to give up on the idea although I was starting to think I needed a back-up plan. And yes, I prayed that there would be children for our program but my prayer was tainted with a small amount of cynicism. My rationale mind was saying, “you better have a back-up plan because there will be no children.”

It was Wednesday at 1:00pm and I began getting ready for the program that would take place at 2:30. I knew for sure that two children were going to participate because their moms told me they would be there. I needed more than two children but strangely I still had this irrational hope that we would have children for the program. At 1:30 our activities director said, “the children are here.” I went into our living room and there were several parents with their children.

I noticed that the children had on Christmas attire and reindeer ears but I just went in with the costumes and started asking the children who wanted to be Mary, Joseph, angels, shepherds or kings. The kids were very enthusiastic and one child asked, “We are going to be in a program?” I said, “Yes we are having a program and you arrived just in time.” When I ran out of children and said I needed a few more shepherds two of the moms volunteered to be shepherds! The dad who was there asked me if he could do anything to help. I said, “Yes, you can read the poem.” We had the program and the residents’ eyes lit up when they saw the children. We pulled it off!

The next day I asked our activities director if she knew the parents and children who came in at just the right moment and she said, “No, I thought you did.” I was able to call one of the parents of the children who participated in the program because she was a past CNA at our facility. I called her and told her that if they had not come in when they did I would have only had two children to participate in the program. I asked her what prompted them to bring the children in. She said that she and her friends talked about wanting to do something for the elderly with their children. She told her friends that she used to work at Bluegrass Care and Rehabilitation Center so they decided to visit our facility. She called and asked what time would be a good time to visit that day and then brought the children over.

I am still laughing and smiling about how all of this worked out. Was it a coincidence or a gift from God? Was I a poor planner and too hopeful for just hanging on to the idea that we would have children when we needed them? I am so thankful for the gift of these parents and children who came to our home just in time to be in our Christmas program. And I am pretty convinced that this was not a coincidence. It was a wonderful gift from God with the help of children and parents who just freely gave of themselves. The timing and coordination of their gift came from the Divine One who knew where and when the children were needed.

We often do not know the significance of our gifts and how a simple willingness to give to others can be used in surprising ways. I am convinced that if we stay open and willing to give of ourselves God will do the rest. Our simple gifts of time and talent will be transformed into a tangible presence of God-with-us in a Christmas program, or in many other unexpected times and places. Saying yes to God is filled with unexpected outcomes of love, peace and joy in times, places and ways that are sometimes hard to explain. But when you think about it there really is no need for explanations there is just a need for open hearts. God is ready and willing to use our gifts in great and small ways just when they are needed.

Donna Rougeux, Chaplain

Something Bigger Than Us

C. S. Lewis wrote, “Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.” There are times when things much bigger than us do come into our small frame of reference giving us a glimpse of the Divine presence that is written across the whole world. This was my experience when I became involved in working out a way to transport one of our residents, Sandy, to her mother’s funeral.

The funeral took place in a town that is four hours away from our care center. Sandy relies on her motorized wheel chair for mobility. A simple request from Sandy to attend her mother’s funeral took me to parts of her care that I took for granted and had never explored. From learning the intricacies of transporting someone in a motorized wheel chair to researching the transportation resources that are available for an out of town trip, to getting on the schedule of a nurse that was needed to go with us on the trip, I became involved in putting a plan together.

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Blessing of the Hands at Bluegrass Care and Rehab

The Blessing of the Hands program, the anointing the hands of our many caregivers with blessed oil as the Spirit led us, was conducted here at Bluegrass this past week.

National Nurses Week and National Nursing Home Week were celebrated well by appreciating and caring for all of those who daily care for so many of our dear residents. The secret here for this culture is to personalize so each recipient feels special and further empowered to deliver care as God works through them. Our “service” is always individual except in dietary, longer for me but much more meaningful for the individual as it can be personalized.

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National Day Of Prayer Celebrated At Bluegrass Care And Rehab

The 2013 National Day of Prayer was celebrated recently at Golfview with great fanfare. This year we have invited our local eucharist ministers, the family council, and everyone who came to our volunteer banquet, as well as clergy who have been faithful both long and short term at Bluegrass. I also personally two bivocational preacher/funeral directors from the local area.

We all wrote prayer requests that the entire staff and residents and their families had deposited in a prayer box.

The NDOP is sort of a kick-off event for things spiritual throughout the month. Devotions, prayer and Bible study times as well as some daily midday blessings refer to it so folks REMEBER to keep praying.

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