In all of our hearts lies a longing. It will not go away in spite of our efforts over the years to anesthetize or ignore its song, or attach it to a single person or endeavor. It is a love that is cloaked in mystery and set deeply within us. It cannot be categorized into propositional truths or fully known any more than studying the anatomy of a corpse would help us know the person who once inhabited it.
Philosophers call this love, this heart yearning set within us, the longing for transcendence; the desire to be part of something larger than ourselves, to be part of something out of the ordinary that is good. Transcendence is what we experience in a small but powerful way when our city's football team wins the big game against tremendous odds. The deepest part of our heart longs to be bound together in some heroic purpose with others of like mind and spirit.
I did not start out with what others may think is corny .... believing in the "Super Hero Caregiver" mentality. It was not until we applied our efforts and ideas and they worked! It was when we saw considerable changes in our friends/clients attitudes and behaviors that I saw the impact our staff were making in their lives. They are not just caregivers providing help with personal hygiene, and assisting them with daily tasks. We have become in many ways they're prosthetic devices. Where there was memory loss we filled in the reminders. Where there was an inability to cope we taught them different coping skills. while teaching them we were by their side learning, laughing and loving our way through.
Our clients/friends brought something into our hearts that many of us did not know was even missing. Indeed, if we reflect back on the journey of our hearts, the love that has come to us in the form of two deep desires: our longing for adventure that requires something of us, and their desire to have someone truly know them for themselves. In the words of friends, these two desires come together in us all as a longing to be in a relationship of heroic proportions.
—to fight for one another. We hear each other’s stories. We discover each other’s glories. We learn to walk together. We pray for each other’s healing. We cover each other’s back. I cannot explain the fire that burns within my staff, accept to say that we have watched our clients reach that moment where their courage rose up to do the work inside needed to reach their life goals. They did the hard work. It is our hearts that fight for the hearts of others. There is nothing more exhilarating, nothing more profoundly beautiful, than to help another conquer life's challenges.
Advanced Adult Care cares a great deal about the experience and skills of our staff. We care even more about their heart. It is this that is priceless and no amount of income or incentive's can pay for it. It is what aides them in dealing with clients with complex needs and at times difficult behaviors. This is when you realize that LOVE is REQUIRED.