My Season at the Home

Jan 21, 2011 / Comments (0) / Written by Mary Bishop

The summer after graduating from high school I worked the graveyard shift at a local nursing home, a Victorian era mansion that housed 45 residents. A bona fide hippie girl who crafted mobiles out of pieces of driftwood scavenged from the shores of Lake Michigan, you could definitely say I had no clue about what this work entailed. And, I was scared to death of old people.

The most intimidating aspect of this position involved a woman frail as a wisp of wheat and without recognition of life itself. Her eyes milky and glazed, and fixed in another dimension freaked me out (us hippie girls used to say). Her stroke-like demeanor coupled with her see-through skin repulsed my teenage sensibilities. But needing the money I slugged through each night, silently grimacing as I tended to her needs.

One evening I spied a clipboard stuffed with paper hanging from her bedpost. I just had to find out the history on this lady! In that bed I found an Army Colonel, a decorated nurse who administered mercy to hundreds of wounded soldiers in World Wars I and II, and the Korean War. Now, this heroine who earned medals for bravery lay dependent...vulnerable...needing the mercy of others. Her story hit home. My brother, a soldier who earned two purple hearts in Vietnam still served in Cam Rahn Bay. I studied her face. Somehow she seemed attractive to me.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy (Matt 5:7).

Mary Bishop


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