May 18, 2014

Lessons from Shady Pines #623

When I Am Old And Grey

Yesterday at the ball fields, we positioned our chairs in the "second row" behind home plate. The area immediately behind home was left clear for spectators to place their chairs. When it was our game time, we planned to move to the "front row." But, I guess we didn't move quick enough, and a couple of grandparents zoomed in front of us and occupied the first row before we could make our move.

We were still on the second row when the grandparents put down their chairs right in front of us. RIGHT IN FRONT OF US. We couldn't see. Daughter 1 wasted no time in stating that she couldn't see in a voice that was intended for outside use. I shushed her, and we adjusted our chairs. The grandparents adjusted their chairs, so we adjusted ours again. After the fourth seat adjustment that rendered Daughter 1 and me blind as far as the game was concerned, I said to the antsy couple, "Okay, y'all pick a space because we can't see."

The grandmother-character turned and said, "Well, what's the problem?"

I rolled my eyes and muttered that I couldn't wait until I was an old person who could do and say whatever I wanted without worrying about being offensive. As soon as the words had been uttered under my breath, I remembered Ruby.

Ruby is a resident at Shady Pines with my mom. She cusses like a sailor and uses offensive language  as if it were oxygen.

When her stability alarm sounds and a nurse assists her back to her chair, she "thanks" them with such phrases as "F#@& off" and "Hands off, B*%@#" and "Shove this alarm up your a$$."

The first time I heard such a barrage from Ruby, I thought it was funny, and I'm sure I thought, "Damn! I can't wait until I'm old enough to cuss like that without repercussion."

I mentioned to my mom that Ruby would probably be mortified if she were in her right mind. My mom was quick to point out that she's mostly in her right mind. And when Ruby's family comes to visit, they are all crass, belligerent, disrespectful and rude.

Ruby's been sent to her room from physical therapy for her disrespect. She's been moved from table to table to table because no one wants to sit by her and her foul mouth. She receives help and assistance, but not friendship, because no one wants to be berated, and everyone--EVERYONE--deserves respect.

It's still true that I want to grow old and do and say whatever I want to: but, more than that, I want to not be offensive.

I can't imagine that Ruby's living a happy and satisfying life by alienating those she sees (and needs) daily.

I can't imagine that those grandparents at the ball game have a lot of people checking in on them when they don't appear to be aware of anyone but themselves.

I can imagine, however, that as long as I'm able, I'll try my best to conduct myself with respect and love for all.

Let all that you do be done in love. I Corinthians 12:14


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