Embrace Living with Rebecca Priest: Filling Up Our Tanks
I ran out of gas last week.
It was not one of my prouder moments, but that’s what happens when you don’t pay attention to your gas gauge or you overestimate how far you can get on the little fuel you have left.
I was with my sister and two girls at 6:30 at night on the thruway returning from Buffalo. They were out of fuel too–figurative fuel, that is. My sister, who lives with different abilities than you and I had kept her composure all day amidst excitement and family chaos, which only my extended family can create.
Marleigh (6) and Magan (4) had spent all of their cuteness on the great aunts and cousins.
My traveling companions were out of “fuel” and I was sort of short and annoyed with them, because, quite frankly, I was also running on empty too. You can’t support people who need filling up when you don’t have any gas yourself.
Think about the elders who live in your homes on your neighborhoods. Think about how often they may be running on empty. They may swear, hit, retort, or they may just seek to be left alone.
Instead of taking it personally when you see an elder running on empty, consider how you might be able to fill them up. Consider how you might honor their privacy. Consider how you might recognize that what they are feeling is hard for them.
Remember, however, that you can only support people when they need re-fueling if you have some of your own.
When I’m not paying attention to my gas gauge, I get grumpy, impatient, and sometimes rude. When I think I have more in me to give than I actually do, I whine, or I see barriers that aren’t there, or I start blaming others for things that are just a part of life.
In this new year, let’s watch our gas gauges and those of each other. Let’s fill each other up, or encourage each other to find ways to fill up our own tanks when you don’t have anything to share.
Most importantly, let’s ensure the elders who we work with are filled up too, because when they are, they are the able to share the richest fuel you and I can receive: their wisdom, compassion, and love.
Here’s to a “full” tank of fuel in 2015,
Rebecca Priest, Administrator, Skilled Services
P.S. I would like to credit the amazing Tenisha Tyler for her efforts with the elder who lived on Lilac I spoke of last week! I found out her name through the grapevine and she is spectacular, attentive, thinking, and clinically spot on! Thanks, “Nesie” for living our St. John’s brand.