RISE

Someone asked me the other day if I held a management position at my day job (it’s actually a night job). Makes sense, considering I’ve been at the retirement place for 23 years, and the American Dream, interpreted as it is today, is the formula we’re expected to follow. But the answer for me is always an easy NO for several reasons. Mostly, management should be for people interested in the administrative world, which is not for me. So, is it a dead end?

Earlier on, when the opportunity to move up the ladder was suggested to me, I let it be known I’m a doer (but thank you for the confidence).

Working at night with little or no team for support can be challenging, but it’s also an introvert’s dream. We hold the fort together free-spirited style. Sometimes it’s three emergencies at once, and sometimes there are long stretches to twiddle our thumbs. I’ve chased a dementia-inflicted resident down in the snow at 1am, I’ve filled concentrators in oxygen tanks (I’m not medical staff, but I’ve learned a lot of random things because there was no one else to do them), I’ve been given private musical performances in apartments, I’ve helped an intoxicated artist track down a mysterious beeping noise in his apartment, which ended up being the bad language censor from his TV. He was mighty drunk and boy, did we have a good laugh.

I’ve seen the culmination of many life stories and how the hurt or the healed things manifest themselves toward the end. I’ve laughed with those who see life as one big comedy, and I’ve been with people as they lay dying. I’ve heard a woman whisper about Heaven’s music as she unknowingly approached the last year of her life. Sometimes the transition between this life and the next is a long process, and rarely do the discerning ones talk openly about the experience, at least in my experience.

How great is the night where the mysterious workings of God are revealed.

As for those of us with long quiet stretches, we have the choice to ponder these things. We’re looked down upon by some as being the lowliest of departments, but I don’t think anyone there has it better. Why? It’s the very thing that sets us peasants of the night apart from the gentlefolk of the day: The opportunity to mingle with ghosts. To learn from them.

Stay with me. Night owls and insomniacs carry a universe of life within them. The characters that have strolled into my life have been many: former soldiers, spies, people haunted by their pasts, people haunted by their present, teachers, artists, authors, alcoholics, mentors, partiers (oh, that WWII generation), people who wanted to die, including one who tried to purposefully catch COVID, people who wanted to live and didn’t have long to do it, missionaries, Christians, atheists, activists, pacifists, elderly parents who lived long enough to see their children grow old, and if you’re disappointed because I haven’t mentioned non-metaphorical ghosts, I’ve seen two of those, although I’m unsure how to interpret them. That will be addressed someday.

Do you realize how much wisdom I would have missed had I chosen the path more traveled? I would have climbed straight past all the things that have matured me, educated me, inspired me, and led me to become a writer. What more obvious career to pursue when I work among living, breathing stories? I mean, I couldn’t find a better education on writing character. What would I have done without those quiet hours to think about all I’ve been given? How thankful I am to have chosen the peasant’s path.

There are things I will discuss when I have a little more time and distance from certain events, but my point in all of this, and the word I’m exploring for April, is Rise. Rising comes from within, and the choices we make. Rising doesn’t require formula, or other people’s approval. It might take great sacrifice and humility (Hello, Easter), and it may take many quiet hours of thinking and observing. Thinking for ourselves is a lost art, which many fear will make America fall. So, let’s take the time to learn, and to go forward.

To observe along with me for the month of April, follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

WooOOOOoo

I almost didn’t blog today…I’ve got a busy day ahead, but since it’s Halloween, I thought I’d share a few of my ghost stories. They’re not really stories, but a few webbed occurrences that I can’t explain.

I work part time at a retirement resort. Ghost stories go with the territory, but most of them are explainable. I’ve been there a long time and know that when the air kicks on it can sound like a family of ghouls walking through the dining room. I know that the loud crashes coming from the kitchen are usually the ice machine, or dishes falling/rattling from the equipment vibrations. And sometimes the weird reflections you can see in the mantle over the lobby fireplace are just headlights from the care center that sits on the hill above us.

The spookiest stuff happened a good decade ago. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve dropped down to part time and don’t experience as many incidents as I used to, or the “situation” has left the building. So here we go. People with Alzheimer’s and Dementia—when they hallucinate, is it only hallucinations, or can they see into the other realm? At one time I would laugh at this theory, but not anymore. Here is one reason why: We had a few Dementia sufferers who would see a little girl or boy around the same time period. A little child bouncing a ball. Playing. Sometimes, you could hear old time music play, although that could have been a TV in someone’s room, but the sound was a little off, like weird carousal/clown-vintage-muffled music. One of our beloved residents known for hallucinating all kinds of things often came to the lobby looking for “the little boy. Have you seen that little boy with the ball?,” she would ask.

Maybe it was coincidence. A few of the staff surely blew the idea out of proportion, but when multiple people hallucinate the same thing, it makes you wonder.

My ghost story: While downstairs in our social room, I saw in a glass office door, a reflection of an old man wearing a red flannel shirt pulling an oxygen tank. He looked very much like a resident who had passed away some months earlier, but logic kicked in and I assumed it was someone behind me out for a late night stroll. When I turned to speak to him, no one was there.

Knowing how the mind can play tricks, I looked around for large planter, an odd shaped piece of furniture, or something that would make me think I had seen a ghost. Nothing but large open space.

No chills, no voices, no cold breeze. I looked back at the glass door, but the reflection had gone.

What was it? One of my friends assured me it was a demon. I have forgotten the explanation, but it was a stretch, in my opinion. Do ghosts exist? Possibly. There are a few hints in the Bible, but nothing (that I’ve discovered) that fully confirm or deny, except we know the people of the day believed in them.

When the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water, and accused him of being a ghost, he didn’t correct them by saying ghosts don’t exist, he just said, “Be still. It is I. You have nothing to fear.” Matthew 14:27.

I guess that’s all we need to know. There is a supernatural realm of some sorts, yes, but all we need to know is that there is Jesus, and he says we have nothing to fear.

Happy Halloween friends. Stay safe and have fun.