“Even in your darkest hour, I will not abandon you….even in your darkest hour, I will not abandon you…..all is well…all is well….don’t let go of hope.” These were the words floating from the radio when I awoke one morning in the early weeks after my father’s death, when I could barely bring myself to get out of bed. At that time a local radio station played meditative music on Saturdays and Sundays from 7 am. to 8 a.m. I clung to every word of the song, grief washing over me, as I prepared to face another day without my father. A few weeks later on a Saturday morning as I lay in bed, I breathed a prayer to hear that song again. Like a little oasis in my mourning, the song came on, blessing me with a measure of comfort. I called the station and learned the song was from a John Adorney album called The Fountain.
I heard a beautiful story on the radio this week of a nursing home in Germany that serves dementia patients. The staff sought to address the issue of the occasional “escapee” who would become disoriented and believe he or she was due at home. One actually got out and found her way to a home 20 miles away where she had formerly lived, now occupied by another family. As employees brainstormed, one idea thrown into the mix was to put a nonoperational “bus stop” in front of the nursing home. At first this seemed a ridiculous suggestion to the management and staff of the facility. But as they considered it further, it seemed worth the attempt.
They did in fact put a fake bus stop shelter out with a bench for waiting. Immediately they began to see benefit from this. One woman was so agitated she could not be calmed. They allowed her outside to “go home” and she took a seat to wait for the “bus.” A nurse sat on the bench with her, a comforting presence, and eventually the woman calmed down, forgot that she had come out to make her way home, and willingly went back in to have some tea with the nurse.
What if, in our own disorientation in these times of confusion and uncertainty, we could imagine ourselves sitting at the “bus stop” with A Comforting Presence? Might we, too, sense that, even in our darkest hours, we are not abandoned…..all is well…don’t give up on hope?
May we be bearers of hope, the “wait staff” of Hope’s Café for each other and all those we encounter.
Hope’s Café Bonus: Immune system tea: Add fresh sliced ginger (three 1 inch slices) and a stick of cinnamon to boiling water. Strain and discard the ginger and cinnamon. Add honey and lemon. (My mother, another comforting presence 😊, did a version of this with lemon juice and ginger powder anytime I had a cold. It works!)