Yesterday Was a Rough Day
Yesterday, was a rough day. I have a cold I was trying to shake. I was grappling with a data project that I hope will inform our programming planning for next year. Several Emerging Leaders were in the computer room outside of my office, but unfortunately weren’t acting as emerging leaders, which made getting work done difficult. In the midst of all this, I got an email from a resident who is struggling in such a way that I, at times, feel I am not very helpful to her. I know that compared to many other folks’ days this was a walk in the park, but for me and my time at Bethany Hill Place, this was a rough one. I did what I typically do and turned to my amazing coworkers. While they each sought to buoy me up, I still felt dismal. I continued to push through the day preparing for our community dinner, but was fearful it would not be successful.
I fretted that the issues with the emerging leaders would continue into the dinner, or that residents would forget and not come to dinner at all. I worried I hadn’t planned enough or that not enough residents would bring food. And then the event started. It wasn’t until after the announcements, dinner, clean-up, and me having to ask the final few families to continue their lovely conversations upstairs, that I realized I felt great! I no longer felt like the day was a failure and I was ready to tackle even the biggest challenges with residents. On my drive home I tried to identify when my mood changed.
I realized that the event itself was what I needed. Being surrounded by people who came to revel in the company of others made me grateful to be with folks who saw the importance of each other. Residents did bring enough food for everyone to eat and we all ate knowing it was the generosity of our neighbors that filled us. People greeted each other with warmth and hugs and I got them too! Residents told each other about what was going on in their lives. A newborn baby was passed around from neighbor to neighbor. I got to check in with residents about upcoming opportunities. A shy father found a friend he made during his time in parenting class and stayed for the duration of the event, a feat in and of itself. A storm of toddlers took over the chalk board in the back of the room and produced a beautiful piece of art. Neighbors cheered for the winners of our raffle prizes. One of our teenage residents explained to one of our middle-schoolers how great Keefe Tech Discovery Camp is and how he should take advantage of it. I had forgotten why we have community dinners, but what a reminder. The very act of being together, sharing, and enjoying one another is a lesson and sustenance. Too often I value our educational programming over our community events, but I won’t in the future. It is upon our community that the individual educational successes of our residents are supported.
I can’t help but think about the many times the Sisters of St. Joseph have taught me this message. The very phrase “dear neighbor” marks each one of us as dear – precious and important. And, here at Bethany Hill Place, where folks are actual as well as metaphorical neighbors, the word neighbor carries its own weight. To live feet away from the people who cheer you on and empathize with you means a deep and powerful level of support. This community, created by the Sisters, served as my teacher this time around. When in need, be with your community, your peace and drive will come.
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