An interesting thing happened at Daybreak yesterday. Let me start with a forgettable moment a few months ago. I was at the center working in the evening when I saw an elderly woman cross our parking lot and come to the door. She was on foot and explained that she had walked from her home down the street. She had passed the center before with a friend in a car and was curious as to what we were all about. We chatted for a few minutes and it became clear that she was not really in need of our services. I gave her information about the Frederick Senior Center and the Department of Aging. She thanked me and left and I really never thought of it again, until this week, when she came back.
She arrived on foot again and carried with her a bag with multiple envelopes in it. She explained that she had applied for some services and was very confused by a letter she had received about them. She wondered if I could help her sort it out. I had that moment where the voice on my left shoulder said “oh my you have so much real work to do, you don’t have time for this”, and the other voice on my right “it is just a few minutes to help someone in need…of course you can make time”. You know who I listened to!
She sat in my office and we tried to call Social Services and Social Security. My heavens no wonder she was confused. The tele prompt systems, the computerized voices, the long time on hold…it was overwhelming. We did get it straightened out; thanks only to a very helpful person at Social Services, but it took multiple phone calls and faxes back and forth. How she would have accomplished this on her own, I don’t know.
While we were on hold during one of the calls, she explained to me that she had lain awake in bed fretting about these letters and their meanings, praying for guidance…who could help her? She remembered my kindness from a few months ago and thought. “that girl, she might help me”. She was so grateful for my help and my time, which in the scheme of things was minimal. I felt so good to have helped her. A small kindness made such a difference to her and to me as well. Our volunteers always tell me that they get so much more than they give when they come here. I understand that. Giving of your time, or a simple kindness, truly warms the giver’s heart.
I’ll save the commentary on our social services system for later!!
Christina Forbes, Director