03 October 2008

Personal References

My mom lives in an assisted living facility (ALF) near the Jersey shore. I don’t get to visit her very often; in fact, it’s been a very long time since my last trip over there. Our relationship wasn’t the greatest, and the worst parts were the latter years, but that’s another story. Probably my guilty feelings for not visiting her has a lot to do with my going over to the ALF at the other end of town this morning and filling out an application for volunteer services. Actually, it’s my guilty conscience and a prompting from the Holy Spirit. I thought that maybe if I would go and spend time visiting with folks that don’t get visitors, then perhaps He’d send someone over to visit with my ma.

I entered the facility and was greeted by a very lovely lady at the reception desk who asked if she could help me. I told her that I wanted to find out about the volunteer program. She gave me an application to fill out and invited me to have a seat so I’d be more comfortable.

I learned there are a number of cool and fun things to do with the residents over there. Playing cards, board games, reading, sing-alongs, arts and crafts, just to mention a few. I checked off all of these activities in the section where it inquired about my own interests. They allow therapy pets to visit. There is a test the animal and handler must pass, of course, before they can participate. I would love to see the dogs that come to visit, and witness the reaction of the residents. I’ve heard it many times how they love pet visits, how happy they are when they’re holding a loving animal.

I was doing just fine filling out this application; I successfully wrote in my name, address, phone numbers and the other requested information about me. Then, I got to the section that asked for personal references. I was at a loss. I could not think of anyone to list as a reference. My husband is my “best friend”, so I couldn’t list him. I certainly couldn’t list the dog; that would’ve looked a tad foolish, even if he is my best buddy. All of my other “acquaintances” fall under two categories: the past, the ones I used to work with, who don’t know me anymore because I’m not the same person I was six months ago; and then there are the new ones, my new “friends” from church who haven’t known me long enough to provide a reference. There is one person whom I’m very privileged to have in my life and I think knows me quite well, however our relationship is long distance. We communicate via the Internet and the phone. So I sat there, trying to think of three people who know me well enough to give a referral of my character. Finally, I decided to name two ladies from the Salvation Army who can at least provide an account of my demeanor while I’m there; and I wrote down my younger brother and my niece.

The receptionist commented on the amount of time I spent filling out this short questionnaire. I blamed it on the references, saying that I didn’t know addresses (which is true) and hoped that if I just sat there for a bit, they’d come to me. I didn’t want to admit that I don’t have any friends close-by and that nobody really knows me.

As I was driving away, I thought to myself there is only one who truly knows me. He knows me better than I know myself. He knows everything I’m going to think or say or feel before I do. That’s because He created me. He numbered each hair on my head. He put the desire into my heart to give and to serve others. He won’t require me to provide personal references. He knows. He knows everything. He knows my heart. Guess what? He loves me anyways. He loves me and accepts me just the way I am! Wow. He’s awesome, eh.


Psalm 139:13 “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb”

Matthew 10:30 “And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

1 comment:

  1. If they would have accepted me as a reference, I would have been an excellent one;).

    Don't worry, I have the same problem, I never have any references either:(.

    When will they let you know that you can volunteer? I think you will really enjoy it:)