I experienced sunshine the other day although clouds filled the sky. It was in a most caring setting that I was enjoying rays of light, measures of joy and serious goodwill.
A visit to a former neighbor friend who now resides at Good Shepherd Nursing Home in Wheeling proved as much of an uplifting experience for me as it did for her. It was dinnertime and my friend was already seated around a festively decorated table with lovely linens and place settings.
Pulling a chair into place next to her, I joined my friend and her fellow table mates for that bit of sunshine on an otherwise gray and solemn day of Holy Week. This was a special candlelight dinner complete with "cocktails" topped with foamy ice cream. And an energetic crooner was singing some favorite tunes from yesteryear. These were golden oldies appreciated by many folks in the room older than the songs themselves.
It didn't matter that many could not leave their wheelchairs or walkers without assistance, they still moved and grooved to the music of their youth. Some shed tears as they recalled former loves or moments of joy dancing with a now passed spouse or beau. Others swayed and sang along with the music, clapping after each much-appreciated song.
Adding to this musical experience were several members of the staff who displayed their dancing finesse to the delight of all those present. When you can dance around the table and dish up plates of cabbage and corned beef with the same gusto, something is definitely right with the place.
Between cutting up food for those who could not and delivering some needed hugs, these angels in scrubs are true wonders of compassion. In what many often think of as a depressing situation, this place has some diamonds in the rough caring for those who have left their own homes to become part of this bigger family.
Even those who could not communicate with words expressed their appreciation with big smiles and tapping toes.
My friend told me that the Catholic-based facility offers a variety of denominational church services and she attends them all. She said she finds God at each one. Can't ask for more than that, spiritually speaking.
As we look toward Easter tomorrow, it's time to throw back the dark curtains and open ourselves to lives renewed in light, bolstered by faith and hope. Joy is not always easy to find, you just have to look around.
I was blessed to find some of the wonders of faith and promise of lighter days in the smiles of 80 and 90 year olds who have learned to appreciate each and every day even when clouds cover the sun.
They don't wait until Easter to celebrate life. They do it every day with the help of those strong enough to lift them up when they fall or comfort them in their sorrows.
Clouds or sunshine, may your Easter Sunday be filled with those things that make your day a sunny one.
Heather Ziegler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.