Sally and I take our doggies to Resurrection Nursing Home every Friday. The other day one resident kissed Dustin, Sally’s black lab mix, full on the lips, exclaiming, “This is better than pills!”
When I used to go to the nursing home by myself to pay a visit to my friend, Rita, confined to her bed, Jeopardy blaring in the background, no one ever glanced my way. The receptionists, the aides , the therapists — all were glum. And for good reason. The smell of urine, the outbursts of dementia patients, and who knows what lurking in garbage cans — just plain depressing.
Now I bring Codie who can’t get enough of the smells. And now my good friend, Sally, comes as well bringing her beloved Dustin — who’s equally intrigued by outbursts and odors!
I think Sally would agree — it’s the best part of our week.
I once heard a preacher make an analogy. When you have a bad knee or hip — the physical therapist usually wants to move it to the point of pain in order to increase flexibility — the very last thing you want to do. You’d rather be nursing your injury with red wine and relaxation.
In the same way, when you are in that depressed or anxiety ridden space — or just “in your head too much” (currently a well-used phrase on the Bachelorette) — the very last thing you want to do is to serve someone else.
Yet, after our nursing home visit, smells and all — I’m about as happy as Codie. And she’s a very optimistic Golden Retriever!
It’s true — in God’s economy, it is better to give than receive.