I am always fascinated by 'life stories'. I wonder, does our story choose us or do we choose it?
I was privileged yesterday to participate as a judge in a Senior of the Year contest sponsored by a local community centre held through a neighbouring retirement home. As a judge I was sent several nominations which I was asked to read through and choose from. There were 3 other judges that did the same. I have to say it was a difficult choice and all entries really deserved recognition. The winning senior was a holocaust survivor. As a young girl, her family was taken from her; as a senior, many years later, she is able to reflect on her past and inspire those around her. One can only imagine her pain of the past but despite it, she has thrived and triumphed.
Several months ago, I participated in a friendship contest as well again as a judge. Here too, seniors told their stories of friendship - many that were decades long and all were inspiring. For most people, without opportunities like these, their remarkable stories would be untold or reserved only for the immediate family that cared to ask.
It would be wonderful to see a future project where life stories or special moments of seniors are put together into a book of sorts. Sometimes, it only takes a paragraph or two, to tell a story that has meaning to many and conveys life lessons we can all learn from. So, I would like to throw out a challenge - to those of you who work with seniors - ask them to participate, tell a story from their life that holds meaning to them. Create something with it and share it among your community. If you have seniors in your life, you can do the same. Ask them to tell you a story or small stories that can be written down and passed along to generations. So much can be learned from those who have lived their lives before us; it only takes a little effort to find a way to share their knowledge.
If you wish to share any stories with us, we will do our best to incorporate them into our regular blogs as well. Just send them to our firstname.lastname@example.org account!
Friday, 9 October 2015
In the spirit of the season, I have been thinking about the concept of 'being thankful for what we have'. In our fast-paced world where there are never enough hours in the day, taking the time to recognize our fortune is a luxury few recognize. The daily news is filled with stories of misfortune - by birth or accident - that give us all pause. Yet, how many people think in terms of themselves and what they have that others do not? We all know people who have seemingly everything but are eternally complaining or unhappy. Perhaps it's because we live in such a rich and materialistic society that so many of us have 'First World Problems' but never quite recognize that their problems only exist because of how fortunate they actually are.
It seems rare these days to come across someone who knows that life is about the people you hold dear, not things you own. Unfortunately, we are inundated with messages through the media about 'must have' items which will lead to happiness and this in many ways influences what we strive for.
Often it takes a tragic event, or significant illness, that give people an understanding of what truly is important in life. Having worked in a hospital for many years, often with very ill or dying people, this reality became quite clear to me many years ago but I too, have been known to take for granted my good fortune.
For many, the concept of 'thanksgiving' is something they celebrate annually because the calendar tells them to but really isn't it something we should be doing far more regularly....... How often do you 'give thanks' for what you have, or even just stop for a moment to recognize it? No need for a big dinner to do it either. The world is full of sadness and tragedy but those who have the good fortune to be healthy, have others who love them and who they love, have a roof over their head and food to eat, are truly blessed. At the end of it all, we all end up in the same place. It's what you do with your time on earth, who you touch, who and how much you love, not what you acquire, that is most important.