Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Amazing Handiwork Inspiration

Rebeka posted this comment on our Teaching Good Things Blog, I just had to share it!!! We never how God will use our skills, even if we have only one hand.

Be encouraged:

Handiwork really impressed me in its importance when I was working as a nurse in a retirement home during my college years. There are many elderly people who think they are no longer of any use to anyone. When they were younger they could accomplish so much, and they measured their value as a person by the amount they produced in a day. Then they had a stroke, or fell and broke their hip, or a heart attack, or just became more feeble as they aged. Suddenly they couldn’t do so much,others had to help them do even the smallest tasks such as combing their hair or buttoning their shirt. Many of these precious people who had so much to offer in the way of wisdom or wise counsel felt they were a waste of others’ time and not worth it. They had never learned that God loves us not for what we do, but because of what and who we are - His creation. I saw my place as one of encouraging them, but this wasn’t easy day after day. Then one day a man arrived who was a Vietnam vet. He was very young compared to all the other residents. He had one good hand and a stub on the other side, and was confined to a wheelchair because his legs ended at mid thigh on both sides. The first day he was there he asked me to unpack a suitcase for him, and set up his hook set. Then, in the common area he sat there for hours doing this latch and hook thing. He made about two projects per week, and was always talking about who he would give this one to, or send this to, or what it would be useful for. He was the brightest, happiest person who lived in the place. At first his enthusiasm irritated the others, but three months later, nearly every other resident in his hallway began to learn the same skill. They soon founded a club. Then, friends and relatives started to take their projects and sell them and give the proceeds to charity. Those who were paralized on one side from stroke found they could still do many things with their good side to help. I made it my goal to find a point of interest for every one of those residents. As more and more became industrious in working with their hands the morale increased and the whole air of the place changed dramatically. One man who didn’t have use of his upper body began to paint with his feet. Those who were not able to use any limbs found joy in the accomplishments of others, would offer suggestions, or would just bask in the comradarie of it all. Anyway, when I left that facility to return to my home town it was an upbeat place. Recently I visited that place while on vacation. It was a new group of people. All of them just sat around feeling sorry that they were alive. It was a pitifully dreary place. I wished I could stay and help them find something to do with their hands. I whole heartedly recommend handiwork in some genre and thank God for giving us His example, saying that His handiwork was ‘very good.’ Thanks for the reminder!

1 comment:

Dana said...

Wow! That's a great story!

On a related note, my grandmother is in an assisted living facility. She never learned to do much with her hands, except cook. When she was first admitted, she was depressed and complained ALL THE TIME! Then they started letting her roll the flatware in the napkins before meals. Suddenly, she had a purpose, something to look forward to that she could still do. Now she's' much happier, joins in with other activities and LOVES making things with her hands! She's always sporting a new necklace she's made, or showing off something they've all crafted together.

I remember about 15 years ago Grandma saying she wished she'd learned to make something useful when she was younger so she could pass the skills and hand down items to my generation. She regretted that she never learned to do any handiwork.

My great grandmother is the one who taught me to crochet using a handmake hook that my great grandfather made out of a "railroad spike"--at least that's what I remember him calling it. It was heavy metal and it took me the longest time to get used to the lightweight aluminum needles after learning on the heavy handmade one. I still have it somewhere.

Sorry for rambling!