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.