Saturday, June 27, 2015

A Spoonful of Grace

A member of Bridge St directed me toward a Facts and Argument piece in the Globe and Mail recently. She thought it was a lovely first-person story and there was also the hook that it came out of Belleville.

Elizabeth McLellan went back to school in her late thirties, training at Loyalist College to become a developmental services worker. During her training she worked with a elderly woman named Gloria, or Glo, who was non-verbal. One day while carefully feeding Glo she had what I might describe as a holy moment of service to another:

Glo held my gaze steadily, and for a moment I thought I saw something flash in her eyes. It was knowledge. It was connection. It was intimacy that I’d never known existed, before her. It was grace, and it humbled me more than anything else ever has, including the births of my children and the death of my brother. Grace from Gloria.
I knew then that to serve my fellow human beings and to tell their stories is both a privilege and my calling. For that moment of connection and truth and grace, I will always be grateful to Glo. Without a single word, she said everything that matters most.
I have experienced a deep sense of God's presence in settings where folk have "lost their senses" in terms of communication and cognition. Often it is in the acts of practical kindness from support workers or family members that there is a sense of the holy. Grace is one of those religious words which is often tossed around thoughtlessly but McLelland uses it well.
Here is the link if you would like to read Elizabeth's piece.


janet.rice said...

Great to read about Liz's essay in your blog! Liz is a Bowmanville girl - she and husband Mark (McLennan) were great friends of our David. Her essay demonstrates her great sensitivity and perception. I continue to encourage her to work with the elderly, hoping I will reap the benefits! Meanwhile, to continue her hobby of creative writing.

David Mundy said...

The various connections are so interesting! Great to hear from you Janet, and of your encouragement to Elizabeth.

Laura said...

Beautifully described.... I experience the Holy in moments at my Mom's side...when life slows down to a stillness that offers a clarity, a silent connection that is far beyond words. Always enjoy this page of the Globe. Thanks for sharing.

Liz said...

I am so chuffed to see my own piece, having been directed here by Janet Rice. I love that others recognize that moment of grace, too. How grand would it be if we could all experience it, all the time?

Incidentally, I am linking a blog piece from my own blog, posted after a rainy evening at Bridge St. United here in Belleville. I don't believe in coincidences, really. I think they're signs. I am fascinated at all the connections that have brought me (and my words) to your page and your words.

That God. He's so funny.

Judy McKnight said...

When my sister was confined to St. Mary's Hospital (Continuing care) in Kingston and could not feed herself, the staff asked if I wanted them to come and feed her - I considered it a privilege to help her in that way ... and we had a lot of laughs as we did this together ... and shared memories - truly grace-filled times.

David Mundy said...

It always pleases me when the subject of one of my blog entries responds, at least those responses which are favourable! Thank you for touching base Liz. I hope we have the opportunity to meet and chat.