• August 20, 2014

Who can bring happiness to nursing homes?

Theresa and Annie

by Jane Oberman

This past year, Jane has been faith­fully coming along with us to our weekly visits to two neigh­boring nursing homes in Fort Greene & Cobble Hills. Now, as she readies her­self for her new life in col­lege, she looks back upon her Heart’s Home visits to our elderly friends:

Staying at the nursing home was some­thing that really showed me a lot about depen­dence on Someone who is not myself, and how in my rela­tion­ships with people, I cannot fill the place of Someone much bigger than me who is the only one who can make them happy. When it was just me going to the nursing home to make them happy, it was very hard to stay with them, because I left with a feeling of hope­less­ness. But when I really looked in a true way at these people who became friends to me and who I really grew to love, I had to admit that it was not me who can make them happy. This made me feel much freer; knowing that I cannot make them happy (because I am just human and am full of weak­nesses and faults), and putting their hap­pi­ness in Someone else’s hands who I know can bring them hap­pi­ness.

One impor­tant person was Ruth, who helped me to see that there was a way to live in the nursing home with cer­tainty and hap­pi­ness. She was someone who is very hopeful and very sure of her faith, and this allows her to be happy even when there are prob­lems. She is sure that she is loved, and so she loves. She was very impor­tant for me to see hope not only in the nursing home where so many people are lonely, but also in my own life in which I feel this same lone­li­ness when I cannot see Someone loving me.

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