This week, however, I’ve had a chance to witness two instances of lifting that have been most impressive.
The first came on Monday afternoon. I had volunteered to dance with my dance group, the Chinook Country Dancers, at a local senior’s residence. Often we perform at locations that are ‘less well funded’. Sometimes we have a peppy audience, other times it is quieter, and other times it can be hard to tell. But we are reminded to bring our own energy and enthusiasm. And we do! This performance was scheduled to be part of the party celebrating all of the January birthdays. When I say part of the party, I mean a big part; the other part was the little cup of ice cream that each resident was given to enjoy. It was during the ice cream portion of the show that I witnessed my first act of lifting.
An elderly woman was sitting, but reclined, in her wheelchair, just to the side of the dance floor. Other residents were sitting at tables; some in chairs and some in wheelchairs. There were about 40 or so altogether. The woman in the wheelchair at the side of the dance floor slept through some of our first act and opened her eyes a bit at other times. When it came time for ice cream, she could easily have slept through the event and she would never have known she had missed anything. However, one of the workers at the residence quietly pulled a chair up next to her and gently awakened her. She put a small bit of ice cream on a spoon and tenderly nudged her mouth open enough that she could get a taste. The resident did not fully open her eyes, but clearly she loved the ice cream. She was willingly fed little spoonful after little spoonful by this thoughtful, sensitive support worker. I found it hard to watch as my eyes seemed to keep filling with tears. When I got home I said to Jim that I hoped that we each had someone to feed us ice cream when we get old. Watching that support worker was such an example of lifting up; such a tiny gesture with such a huge impact.
The second time that the idea of lifting up appeared this week was on Tuesday. I was privileged to be invited to be a note-taker at St. Mary’s University as they hosted the National Education Roundtable for Truth and Reconciliation. The room was filled with Canadians who came from coast to coast to report on what is being done in their districts to implement the Calls to Action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report and to plan for next steps. This closed door group was made up of what I call ‘The Big Wigs’. They are people who work for Ministries in their provinces, Deans of universities, heads of government projects and others. These people have huge influence on the audiences they speak to. We heard incredible stories throughout the day, not only of work being done under the leadership of these people, but also true accounts of incidents that took place at residential schools. We were reminded that part of what we are being asked to do is to ‘Lift Each Other Up’. It is such a simple, powerful concept. Throughout the day, participants lifted each other up as they honoured the stories and the work being done to implement the Calls to Action.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi of Calgary, has initiated a program called ‘3 Things for Canada’. He quite simply asks each resident of the City of Calgary to do three things of service during this 150th celebration of Canada’s birthday. In other words, he is asking us to think of three small ways that we can lift each other up this year. I already witnessed two of those acts this week.
And it is very remarkable, as I have said before, once you think about something, and put your attention on it, opportunities appear. Just this week my friend Sheri Bruneau, of GITYYC, sent me an invitation to be part of a Habitat for Humanity Women Build house-building in May. For me, Mayor Nenshi, - that’s one!
My inquiry for you this week is this: How am I lifting up?
Please contact me to help you create your best year yet. Living a life that matters is a matter of choice. Choose well this year!