For Christmas this year, my daughter made my husband a scrap book. I truly think it was his favorite gift. My husband saves stuff in boxes in the basement, and my daughter rooted through those boxes finding some pictures, a few very nice love notes, our wedding invitation and a wish list. I am going to guess the list was written within a few years of our marriage based on the contents. On one side in my handwriting were my husband’s wishes, and on the other side were mine.
Now, many years later, there is almost nothing left on the list that we did not accomplish. Some of the wishes came with joy and others, sadness. My husband wished for a dog. And in 2000 we got Gilbert, a much loved puppy who passed away last year at the age of 16. There is little left on the list we might still want.
We had so many more blessings over the years that were not on the list. In fact, I don’t know why we made this list. It may have been one of our cheap dates. When we had no money left over after paying our bills, we still had dates. I remember them as if they were yesterday. They were happy moments – we gave each other our undivided attention, with no music, and no TV, over a glass of water. Its right up there with other wonderful memories, like sitting on the porch enjoying a rain storm with my grandmother.
This is the time of year when people make lists. I would like to continue the theme from last week and ask us all to think fresh.
Imagine that what money we have is enough. Imagine that the staff is enough. What would we do to meet the needs of the people we support to have a happy life, one of meaning, filled with love and laughter? Imagine if we gave each other our undivided attention.
Imagine that residential and day programs have not been created, and that we need to start fresh. Just what would we do? What life would we put together from what we have been given?
What activities would be on the list?
What opportunities would we create?
What conversations would we have about what we value?
What would that day include?
I did not enter this field with the idea that I wanted to preserve anything. I entered this field with the idea that people belonged in the community, part of our neighborhoods, friends and family. I want us to think hard about that. If that ‘why’ drives me, what drives you? What matters to you in your life, and how can that shape the way we see possibilities in 2018? What’s your WHY? How can that help us all start fresh?