Open Arms

My friend, Sharon’s birthday was a success. It was rather warm when I arrived in Rockville, Utah, 105 degrees F. Whoa, that is more than hot. I know, I know, it’s a dry heat—yet I believe anything over 90 degrees is hot.

I am always delighted to connect with this family. Tori, Sharon’s daughter, and I have not seen each other in many years. It was fun to reconnect with her. It was almost like we had never been apart. This is family. Everyone goes their own way as they grow into adulthood yet when they have reunited once again, everyone picks up where they left off. I am honored to be even a distant part of this family.

The day of the party started out hot, yet as the time for the party drew close the clouds came in, there was rain and then it was cool and lovely to be outside under a pavilion to celebrate this 90-year event. There was music and food and greetings of friends who, due to Covid, may have not seen each other in a while. A chair was set at the entrance for Sharon to sit in and greet and be greeted by the revelers. My favorite photos are of Sharon reaching out with open arms to greet each guest as they arrived.

There is delight and warmth and welcome in those open arms. These arms are not just to greet those with like minds and like ideals. These are truly the open arms of embracing community. Not all the people at Sharon’s birthday party believe like her. Not all of them voted one way. Not all of them are intimate in friendship with each other. Yet, in this small town, population of approximately 245, there is a sense of community that is often lost in larger urban settings. They know that they have to get along to some degree to make their small town work. During Covid, they knew they had to rely on each other to make their sheltering in place work. Smaller towns recognize the need for a sense of community. It is a survival mechanism.

Over the past several years I believe that we as a nation have withdrawn into our familiars. We have forgotten how to reach out to each other and embrace despite differences in religion, political beliefs, the color of one’s skin, and more. Embracing differences may be more work but the rewards are, well, more rewarding. Community can only work if we embrace everyone.

Covid, or “The Great Pause”, I believe has offered an opportunity for people to function as a richer community. People have been reaching out, helping others. I have been the recipient of others’ embraces. I was welcomed by friends to stay with them for the greater part of last year. Our friendship has strengthened and we have become family. Others have opened their homes for me. Strangers have left supplies at my door. People have phoned or emailed to make sure this solo person was doing fine.

If I take the time to reach out to those that believe or do things differently, my life will be richer and fuller. I will learn new things and expand the world that I live in. I want to know that I don’t have to be stuck. I want to know that my arms can always reach out and embrace the new, the unknown. I also want to recognize when other arms are reaching towards me. Part of healing the divide of this nation, at the moment, may be remembering to open our arms and embrace everyone.

I am slowly returning to the Northwest. I am keeping my arms wide open to embrace people and experiences and remember this valuable lesson.

Change Happens

Elliot Community Hospital

In 1970 I began my education to become a registered nurse. I went to a three-year diploma school, Elliot Community Hospital School of Nursing in Keene, New Hampshire. I became aware for the first time of the resistance of people to change. In the last year of school, a new hospital was built; Cheshire Hospital. It had all the latest equipment and technology. There were single and double rooms. There was air conditioning. It was new and amazing. Three months before I graduated patients were moved and the old hospital closed.

You would think that everyone who worked in the old hospital, which had been in existence since the late 1800’s, would have been excited and looking forward to moving into a hospital with the latest of everything.

The old hospital did not have air conditioning. I remember taking care of patients and then going to find a fan to cool off. Often patients were situated in the hallways with curtains around their beds as there was not enough space to accommodate all of those in need of hospitalization. It was archaic.

Change was in the air. Many of the nurses who worked in the old hospital were hesitant and angry about the move. They were used to where they worked and were resisting change. They didn’t need all the new things at the new hospital. Things worked just fine where they were. They feared the unknown.

The student nurses could not figure out why these nurses were so hesitant. We knew it would be a lot of work to move everyone, yet we were looking forward to the shift to the new hospital. Who wouldn’t want to be in a brand new building with the latest of everything? We were excited and looking forward.

About two years ago WordPress, the host site for my blog announced that it was going to gradually change the editing program, from a Classic Editor to a Word Block Editor. I was given the chance to learn how to use the new editing system. They had video tutorials. They continue to offer online support. I have been resisting this change since they announced it. I didn’t have time to learn it. I liked the old system. Why change something that is working? Oh my, I sound like those nurses at the hospital.

When did I become resistant to change?

I have been putting off learning the new format until I had to change. That change came with my last post. I can no longer access the Classic Editor. I have no choice now, but to learn this new format. I am struggling to learn. I know I will succeed (look at what I am doing now), yet it is a struggle. I am busy watching tutorials. I have been on chat with the WordPress agents. They are patient and knowledgeable. It helps to know I am not alone in my quest to learn this new system.

Not only do I have to learn a new editing system but the theme I use for this blog is also no longer available and it has been suggested that I change the theme before I can no longer use it. I am glad that I am in one place and have the time to sit and learn all these new ideas. Expect changes in the look of my blog. Things might look different for a while until I get everything figured out.

 Insight into change teaches us to embrace our experiences without clinging to them — to get the most out of them in the present moment by fully appreciating their intensity, in full knowledge that we will soon have to let them go to embrace whatever comes next.

Insight into change teaches us hope. Because change is built into the nature of things, nothing is inherently fixed, not even our own identity. No matter how bad the situation, anything is possible. We can do whatever we want to do, create whatever world we want to live in, and become whatever we want to be.

All About Change by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Change is a part of my life. Change is part of your life. Change is a part of everyone’s life. We may not always recognize when it begins to happen. We may resist it. We may fight it but change is guaranteed to happen.

I have experienced a lot of change since I started this blog (look at the archives, they are an interesting read). As I look back at my life, change has been consistently a part of my life. I continue to learn that nothing is fixed or permanent and that change is always possible. Change is inevitable. I have not always embraced change when it has arrived on my doorstep, yet it is there.

Today I am embracing change and learning about this new way of editing. I would like to think that this past pandemic year (The Great Pause) has allowed me time to discover and explore change. I hope to come out of this time a better and more complete person, and more accepting of change in my personal life and in the world around me.