Last night’s episode of ‘Trust Me I’m a Doctor’ examined strategies to avoid dementia. The conclusion from their small scale experiments was that increasing both mental and physical stimulation looked to be beneficial. I was pleased there was room for a multi-factorial conclusion, but felt it lacked a spiritual variable, which I hypothesize would also be beneficial.
It posed the question for me, ‘Where do we witness a presence of spirit within our wider community?’
Yesterday was also ANZAC Day. Our local, Lane Cove Plaza was packed with people from babies to some of our oldest residents. Various community organisations laid wreaths – Rotary, schools, Scouts, sports clubs – the community band played and the community sang, prayed and were silent together. Elements of our Australian identity were claimed to be discovered in the furnace of suffering – of daring courage and extraordinary bonds of mateship. People lingered afterwards to chat with friends and to recognise personally those who served. Certainly there was much evidence of the flow of strong, community spirit.
The natural beauty and spaces which surround us here, doggedly protected and maintained by local residents with help from allied professionals, also point to a valued, spiritual space. A thriving art community and many accomplished musicians provide deepening experiences that would be described as ‘good for the soul’.
People still have experiences that are inexplicable from a scientific, rational viewpoint. The ‘Near Death Experience Research Foundation’ http://www.nderf.org/NDERF/NDE_Archives/NDERF_NDEs.htm chronicles over 4000 of them submitted by people from all around the world. Australian author, Ivan Rudolph, has recently published a book about them, ‘Living Beyond. Making Sense of Near Death Experiences’.
We are spiritual beings. Let’s aim to engage our body, mind and spirit together as much as possible.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
A quote from the Bible, Galatians chapter 5 verses 22-23. (New International Version)
A recent note from my friend Susan tells the story of her mother’s move into a nursing home. After many years of caring for Mum herself, Susan shares about her transition.
Susan wrote, “Placing my mother into a nursing home heightened my sensitivity to the nuances of care. Firstly, there is the legal or proscribed duty of care. Her physical needs are met by ensuring she is dressed, fed and lives in a safe and clean environment. Her mental, spiritual and emotional needs are more challenging, yet well provided through opportunities to attend many and varied stimulating activity programs; discussion groups, bus outings, concerts and church services. My mother loves these well-considered activities provided by her nursing home.
However, when asked about the care she receives it is not the activities that matter most. It is the manner in which she is treated that is paramount. Mum says that she is treated, “better than the queen; with dignity, love and respect by all the happy staff”. They show a personal interest in her and she is moved by the unexpected acts of kindness, such as a staff member who brought their lunch to her room and chatted to her”.
Susan’s Mum’s comments are very enlightening. Fulfilling all the basic obligations in meeting duty of care responsibilities may ‘tick the boxes’ but what the recipient really notices is the manner in which the care is provided. Showing a personal interest; providing unexpected acts of kindness; being genuine – these are factors that help to ensure those needing care feel safe, secure and loved – all essential human needs that are necessary for our wellbeing and health.
This approach not only applies to our older family and friends – our capacity to care for one another extends to all aspects of our life – at home, work, school or sport, or even just chatting to our neighbours!
So often it is the little things that show up our underlying motivation. If we are genuine in our care, we can go that little bit further to show those around us that they are truly loved and appreciated.
Who, in your circle of care, needs a little extra touch of your kindness today?
照顾的范围 (Karen牧师4月13日的部落格 Circle of Care)
我最近从友人Susan处得知, 她的母亲入住了老人院. 她照顾了母亲多年, 现在分享这转接经验.
她写道, “我把母亲送进老人院, 各细节深化了我给她照顾的认识. 首先是要负放弃照顾她的法律责任. 她得要好穿好食和居住安全及洁净环境的. 那较棘手的心理,精神和感情方面的照顾, 却能经由参与振奋性的活动得到; 活动包括分组讨论会, 巴士外遊,音乐会和教会的崇拜聚会等. 我的母亲表示喜欢那老人院这类经考究设计的活动的.
无论如何, 我的母亲认为她享受的照顾不在活动本身, 而在那份关怀方面. 她说受到的待遇过于‘对待女皇那般; 亲善的职员令她感受荣誉,爱心和尊重’.那些职员对她亲切,其中一位还格外亲善地捧餐到她房里, 陪她闲谈呢.”
Susan的母亲所作的评语极富启发性.完成问卷上的小格,并不算回答了照顾责任妥当的, 著重点是受照顾者的待遇. 真心地表现个人关怀, 给予惊喜的善待,才是照顾因素,让需要的人感安全, 得保护和觉爱心 – 全部都是人类的基本需要, 以求幸福和建康的.
这般门径,不只适用于我们对待家里长者和朋友,也适用在生活的每个角落 – 家中,办公室內,学校里,或运动场上,甚至和邻家闲谈时!
很多时,些小的表达就露出真意的. 假如我们真心待人, 多一点滴都能令他人感到被爱和受重视的.
照顧的範圍 (Karen牧師4月13日的博客 Circle of Care)
Susan母親所作的評語極富啟發性。完成問卷上的小格，並不算回答了照顧妥當的，著重點在受照顧者的待遇。真心地表示個人關懷，給予驚喜的善待，才是照顧的因素，讓需要的人感安全、得保護和覺愛心 － 全部都是人類的基本需要，以求幸福和建康的。
這般門徑，不只適用於我們對待家裏長者和朋友，也適用在生活的每個角落 － 家中、辦公室內、學校裏和運動場上，甚至和鄰居閑談時！
照顾的范围 (Karen牧师4月13日的部落格 Circle of Care)
Sydney is such a beautiful place! The lovely native gullies, so close to the big city, the spectacular harbour resplendent with its natural beauty and complemented by charming sailing boats and iconic structures, still create a source of delighted wonder in me after 18 months here.
Your perception of beauty may be different to mine. A visit to the State Theatre where Tina Arena performed to a capacity crowd, illustrated that many people are moved by a beautiful, powerful voice. The architectural and acoustic features of the theatre itself inspire another realisation of beauty. The Lane Cove Art Society have celebrated their 50th year – that’s a great deal of art appreciation! New life often brings a sense of wonder and joy in its delicate beauty. Even relationships can be described as beautiful – the harmonious gathering of diverse peoples at the new FoodFaith Garden Opening in Lane Cove recently, or any time where joys and experiences are shared, leaving our hearts warmed.
A certain state of mind is required to enable us to realise beauty – we need to decide to take the time required. Neither a quick glance at a painting, nor a hurried visit, reveal the depths of true beauty. Psychology and Christian doctrine agree that gratitude is good for the soul, so let’s take time to ‘smell the roses’, to look beyond ourselves and the troubles which may otherwise consume all of our attention.
Probing more deeply, how does beauty resonate within us? Does it make a connection with our spiritual nature? This ancient Psalm suggests so:
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
(An excerpt from the Bible, Psalm 19:1-4 (NIV)).
Whereas this passage refers to a link to God through nature, I suspect other forms of beauty are also powerful connectors to the One who created us. I’d love to know what you think! Where do you see beauty? How does it resonate with your soul?
美的观感 (Karen牧师4月3日的Beholding Beauty部落格)
悉尼是一个确然美丽的地方! 我迁居到这里住了十八个月至今, 那份首次看到它时的惊喜, 依然留在脑海中. 我见到这么多接近大城市但保留原态的峡谷, 这壮观的海港, 它既具自然美之外, 还有其体势动人的帆船, 游弋于像徵悉尼的建築物之间.
你们对美的观感或可和我的不同. 但我到过那State Theatre, 只见震憾的全院满座! 我感受到当时在演唱的Tina Arena婉啭而深情的歌声, 她把观众迷住了. 那剧院的建筑型式和音响设备, 让我觉察到另一类的美. 今年正值Lane Cove Art Society的 50周年, 可想象它贡献给人们多少艺朮欣赏的历程了! 艺术创作在巧妙中带来美的感受, 也同时带来疑慮和欢乐的. 甚至我们的人际关系亦可以当为美的 – 那多种民族融洽地聚在一起的Food Faith Garden开幕礼, 或其他类似的乐趣和经验分享的场面, 都能留下温罄的回憶的.
美的觉察是需要特定的心理历程的 – 我们得牺牲时间来感受. 瞬间的溜览或迅速的涉獵, 是到不了真正艺术的深层的. 心理学和基督教教义都同意, ‘感恩有利于心灵’的说法. 让我们空出点时间来 ‘嗅一嗅玫瑰花香’, 摆脱形体的限制, 作美的享受吧.
来一个更深入的体会, 美怎样和我们生共鸣的? 它是不是和我们的心灵有关连的呢?
这份节錄把自然跟神连在一起, 令我怀疑其他型式的美都和创世者有紧密的连繋的. 我恳求你们给我各自的想法! 你们在哪里找到美? 它和你们的心灵怎样產生共鸣呢?
美的觀感 (Karen牧師4月3日的Beholding Beauty博客)
你們對美的觀感或可和我的不同。但我到過那State Theatre，只見震憾的全院滿座！我感受到當時在演唱的Tina Arena婉囀而深情的歌聲，她把觀眾迷住了。那劇院的建築型式和音響設備，讓我覺察到另一類的美。今年正值Lane Cove Art Society的50週年，可想象它貢獻給人們多少藝術欣賞的歷程了！藝術創作在巧妙中帶來美的感受，也同時帶來疑慮和歡樂的。甚至我們的人際關係亦可以當為美的 － 那多種民族融融洽地聚在一起的Food Faith Garden開幕禮，或其他類似的樂趣和經驗分享的場面，都能留下溫罄的回憶的。
美的覺察是需要特定的心理歷程的 － 我們得花點時間來感受。瞬間的溜覽或迅速的涉獵, 是到不了真正藝術的深層的。心理學家和基督教教義都同意，‘感恩有利於心靈’的說法。讓我們空出時間來‘嗅一嗅玫瑰花香’, 擺脱形體的限制, 作美的享受吧。
Hi! I'm Karen, the Lane Cove Community Chaplain. I am pondering life here and in general. Some of my blog articles are originally found in our local paper, The Village Observer, and are repeated here because I would love to hear your response too.