One of the many jobs I had was “a Carer/Nursing assistant”. It’s one of the most physically & emotionally demanding/exhausting jobs but also one that is very rewarding.
In 2014, I stopped working in care homes and moved to community residence caring where I would care for people in their own homes. It was more hectic getting to every client on time and going to the next on time too.
One of the emotional challenges of being a ‘Carer’ is that as a Carer you have to put up with so many different characters and personalities and attitudes. You have to respect every client as you would anyone else or even slightly more. If a client insults you, you keep calm, talk to them nicely and do your job.
There are those who were easy, nice and polite and allowed the job to go smoothly but then there were those that were as if on a mission to make Carers’ lives miserable although some were of course simply frustrated out of their sickness or because their families had abandoned them, etc. But a Carer is supposed to put up with whatever comes their way.
I had this particular elderly lady that was just a rebel, she shouted at everyone, was rude and mean. She was just difficult. All the carers didn’t like her and the first time I was assigned to her, everyone told me “oh, good luck with that one!” and I was apprehensive of going there. She was obviously super rude to me and even told me my name was boring 🙂 & old after I introduced myself, I was so shocked but also found that really funny. Her middle name was actually “Alice”. Yeah! we started off real good (not).
It bothered me why she was really like that and I prayed for her like once or twice then forgot to pray for her ever again. But then I felt the urge to treat her differently from other Carers. I knew it was gonna be hard to be kind & love on someone who was that cold, calling me names & treated me like trash. At first, I actually did it as a trial, like “let me be Christian about this” and I wasn’t sure I was going to sustain it especially when she insulted me for no reason.
I started speaking to her gently, smiling when she insulted me, sitting a while longer next to her after my shift although we didn’t speak, laughed at her rude jokes and did extra stuff for her that weren’t part of my work. To my surprise, after a while she started warming up to me. I worked with her in the winter of 2014-2015 she would ask small but meaningful questions like “why don’t you have gloves on? You want your little hands to freeze?” or she would ask me to sit with her a bit longer till she fell asleep.
If I didn’t come on a certain day, she would get worried and ask people to call me. When I was leaving the company I didn’t tell her, she was so mad at me that I hadn’t said goodbye (shame on me). I had to go & apologize.
I guess the point I’m trying to make is ‘everybody needs a little loving’.
I never found out her story but I realized that beneath all that frustration, bitterness, anger and rudeness was a soft scream for help, a yearn for some love. My remaining time with her was absolutely different, she was brighter with me but would switch back as soon as someone else came in. I was sad that my journey with her didn’t last long, maybe we could have gotten to her releasing all the heaviness she had. Maybe! Maybe not! But I’m grateful I got to witness that small transformation in her.
It had initially been just a try out but it eventually went on to be a lesson for me and a priceless smile on a little old lady’s face.
She taught me that the scripture that says ‘Love is patient, kind..’ doesn’t only apply to actual relationships in our lives but to all people we come across, and the challenge is God asks us to extend the same even to those who treat us like trash;
I admit, it is really really hard but it’s not impossible.