I recall the song "The Morning After", by Maureen McGovern, from the movie The Poseidon Adventure in 1973. (I still can't listen without crying!) It comes to mind as I contemplate the opportunities we have to revive our connections after so much isolation. It speaks of loving, giving, and reaching out to build bridges together. Our empathy has grown and our compassion matured. The time is ripe for renewed vision and outreach!
The soil within me for this seed of opportunity was cultivated during 2021. My step-mother fell and needed nursing care that we were unable to provide at home. She was in a nursing/rehab facility for a number of months during which time there were lock-downs and so many restrictions on seeing her. She was already in decline at the time of the fall and dementia was aggravated by isolation. Her experience in institutional care was so different from what my grandmother had experienced in the final years of her 105! This was a reality I needed to see and it called to my heart for response.
At the start of 2020 I was working as a checker at a grocery store in the small town of Junction City, Kansas (Shout out to Dillons!!) When Covid made its way to Geary County I stopped working because of underlying health concerns. This sudden space in my life gave rise to spiritual growth, creative projects, and eventually to me moving home to Virginia to help Dad with caring for Mom.
One creative project I had begun, in my dear tiny apartment in Junction City, was making cards for my grandchildren. It evolved into cards for all the family birthdays and other holidays that still endures. It's a hobby I turn to for grounding and centering. And it has become a natural fit for answering the call to outreach.
My daughter-in-law is the activities director for an assisted living/nursing facility nearby. She began her work there in the Fall of 2021. That's when I first had the idea that I could probably make Christmas cards for her residents. 30 people. I could handle that! And it was absolutely wonderful and heartwarming to hear of their responses! When Valentine's and Easter rolled around I made them more cards. It's been such a game changer for me! This is where the synergy is, and how I move forward as an artist.
I sat down recently and created a plan that, working full time, allows me to expand the outreach from 30 to 55, with the goal of reaching 100 by Christmas!
Another aspect of this, as I nurture the vision, is being able to inspire others to find their natural expression of care and compassion. Even the smallest acts of kindness are valuable and necessary to the well-being of humanity. And we really need all hands on deck.
I would love to hear your stories of connection and outreach. It's a beautiful thing to see the light of your smile in someone else's eyes! Let's catch fire together and warm the hearts of those within our sphere, reviving the connections, expanding the grace and amplifying the joy!