Just a reminder, today’s article is part of Brother P.’s column, “Lessons From the Nursing Home.” Because he’s sharing stories from his workplace, a nursing home, it’s better to keep personal details vague. We hope you enjoy reading the spiritual takeaways inspired by his job as a physical therapist.
I’ve mentioned in previous blogs that my day job is walking people in a nursing home. Usually the people I’m working with are older. Usually they’ve just had a hospital stay. Sometimes they’ve just received a new knee or hip replacement. Often they live alone and just need a little exercise to be able to safely manage their household environment.
Often they do not want to be there. Often they’re in pain from a surgical procedure. Often they’re not motivated to walk with me, and I can’t say I blame them. So I try to give them encouragement, sometimes perspective — perspective of how short a couple of weeks are in the big scheme of things.
Once I got to work with a young lady who was the master of perspective. She was 16 and suffered a spinal cord injury that left both of her legs useless. We’d strap on braces that would effectively lock her ankles, knees, and hips so she could bear weight through them, and then she would begin the task of walking, using only her hands on the parallel bars and her trunk to force her legs to move.
She did not say anything to the other residents to give them perspective. She would just work harder than anyone in the history of working would work. Her result? Legs that still wouldn’t work, nor would they ever.
The other residents would, upon seeing her situation, immediately become her cheerleaders. Something else they did was reexamine their own situation, and they’d start working with more vigor, with more purpose.
Crazy thing is … their situation hadn’t changed. Same pain, same age, same nursing home. The only thing that really changed was their perspective.
How’s your perspective? Getting tired of trying all the time with a never-ending challenge ahead of you?
Try this. Compare it with the duration of eternity.
In my mind I see all the saints who have passed on to the next life sitting in the bleachers cheering you on. Because in the big picture, it’s all worth it.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.