Senior Living December 23rd

Enough is enough. I give! There is no longer any reason for all this snow. Kids are out of school – they don’t need any more snow days; families want to get together; and college kids need to get home. I have now had my full serving of this winter season; the novelty and excitement are over; and it is time to move on. Where art thou spring?

But thankfully it is also the Christmas Season: a time for memories that stir our senses: the smell of fresh bread and cookies baking in the oven, houses sparkling with Christmas Lights, and bells ringing at local supermarkets. And special memories of Christmas eve past when the family would drive around town “oohing” and “aahing” at the Christmas lights, knowing our children would soon fall asleep, tired from crying though the Christmas eve service. And then we would gently tuck them in bed, and quickly and quietly wrap and place the gifts under the Christmas tree just the way Santa would want. It is a special time.

It is also a time to remember we have been blessed with many gifts and even some we may not be aware of at our chronologically advantaged age. I would like to share with you “Star Thrower”, a story that touched me when I first heard it and illustrates such a gift. You may have heard it before. It is inspired by the writings of Loren Eiseley and this version is from Joel Barker’s best selling program “The Power of Vision.”

“Once upon a time, there was a wise man, much like Eiseley himself, who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had the habit of walking along the beach before he began his work. One day he was walking along the shore; as he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day, so he began to walk faster to catch up. As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn’t dancing, but instead, he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean.

As he got closer he called out, ‘Good morning! What are you doing?’
The young man paused, looked up and replied, ‘Throwing Starfish into the ocean.’
‘I guess I should have asked; why are you throwing Starfish into the ocean?’
‘The sun is up and the tide is going out and if I don’t throw them in they’ll die.’
‘But young man, don’t you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and Starfish all along it, you can’t possibly make a difference!’

The young man listened politely, then bent down, picked up another Starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves. ‘It made a difference for that one.’
His response surprised the man, he was upset, he didn’t know how to reply, so instead he turned away and walked back to the cottage to begin his writings.

All day long as he wrote, the image of that young man haunted him; he tried to ignore it, but the vision persisted. Finally, late in the afternoon, he realized that he the scientist, he the poet, had missed the essential nature of the young man’s actions. Because he realized that what the young man was doing was choosing not to be an observer in the universe and watch it pass by, but was choosing to be an actor in the universe and make a difference. He was embarrassed.

That night he went to bed, troubled. When morning came, he awoke knowing that he had to do something; so he got up, put on his clothes, went to the beach and found the young man; and with him spent the rest of the morning throwing Starfish into the ocean.

You see, what the young man’s actions represent is something that is special in each and every one of us. We have all been gifted with the ability to make a difference. And if we can, like the young man, become aware of that gift, we gain through the strength of our vision the power to shape the future.”

We all have found ways to make a difference as we continue to discover new ways. Last Wednesday at the Center, several members of the Strong Women’s class and other wonderful volunteers made a difference by stuffing over 2000 brochures for the Building Expansion Campaign. They were so quick and nimble we ran out of inserts, but they wouldn’t quit and they wore me out.

Also a big thank-you to David Staehnke and Gary Patton for helping shovel the Center parking lot. And when it really gets bad and our snow shovels are no match for mother nature, a special thank-you to The Dalles City public works department for clearing the sidewalks around the building and to Tom Brace and friends for coming by unannounced and plowing the Center parking lot clear of snow.

We have decided to cancel tonight’s Christmas Party and Dance. It was postponed from last Tuesday hoping the weather would be better which turned out to be wishful thinking. Penny and the Small Change were eager to play, Hearts of Gold Caregiving was going to provide the food and Mill Creek Point (they were sponsoring the Christmas Saturday Breakfast before it was snowed out) was going to provide the gifts. But the weather is its own master and we are going to reschedule to a safer date – in March (it was suggested we save some snow in the freezer just to remind us of this wintry experience.)

The End of the Year Bingo Party is this coming Saturday at 6:00 PM which should be a lot of fun. But we may have to postpone it to the next week (for a Beginning of the Year Bingo Party), depending on the weather. So call the Center at 298-4788 before you come. There will be a message on the answering machine.

Well that’s it. I need to get out and shovel snow. So until we meet again, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

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