Our new Parish Nurse, Sarah Ecker, has shared some reflections about her time with us so far, lessons learned from her parish nursing course, and observations about life in a pandemic. Please feel free to reach out to Sarah if you'd like to connect.
Hello! I hope everyone is well as we move into the cooler, shorter days leading up to Advent! It has been a pleasure to start to meet some of you and get to know you. From a new person’s perspective, I am so humbled by your kindness and can see that a healthy, whole, and caring community is a shared goal among you all.
I wanted to let you know that I am currently working on my first Parish Nursing course through St. Peter’s Seminary in London, Ontario. It is an absolutely wonderful course and the leaders have done a great job at infusing the heart of Parish Nursing into a jam-packed course that is both practical and spiritually deep.
I have been learning and reflecting on the aging population this past couple weeks, and gaining even more of an appreciation for the stage of life and spirituality of this demographic. One key aspect in particular is the importance of spirituality in coping. We all have seen how the pandemic has impacted people, and the aging population is no exception. There is a lot of evidence to support it has been one of the most socially, mentally, physically, and spiritually impacted groups. There are some central challenges as we navigate the space between safety and connectedness. One such challenge a person could face is isolation; from family who live away, local restrictions, group-living arraignments, or personal decisions to maximize safety. Having contact with your support systems is crucial to your mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. Although it does not replace our ideal desires, there have been some creative ways to accommodate these road-blocks through connecting to online worship, using technology to use video to stay connected, social media, home communion. Please reach out to me if you are struggling.
Sometimes we start to acknowledge our loneliness when things are beginning to look up. This is a normal part of coping with the collective changes brought on by the last couple years, especially in combination with an already fast-changing life stage. Bring in chronic illness or acute medical challenges, and life can feel like it has been flipped over from everything we had hoped for and anticipated. Even when life begins to stabilize, it is very common to start processing the emotional and mental strain of the tumultuous season you just came through.
If you find yourself identifying with this, I would like to encourage you to spend some time to reflect on the challenges you have faced or are facing and recognize that when things do not go as planned; it is a very appropriate human response to feel sadness, grief, or a sense of loss. These emotions are important indicators. During a time when we have had to flex our resilience, dig deep, and be content - come what may; it is okay to take a deep breath, remember your humanity, accept the reality, and embrace care, encouragement and support. I would love to connect with anyone feeling the impact of this season and offer you compassion and encouragement.
I will leave you with this scripture from Matthew 11: 28-30:
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”