Sister Ruth Resch has served in San José de Ocoa in the Dominican Republic for more than 35 years. She is now a volunteer at the nursing home, where she was the respected and well-loved administrator for many years.
One of the residents, whom we will call Miguel (not his real name) recently offered Sr. Ruth the opportunity to experience the freedom of the children of God in the simple openness to daily life. This freedom comes, not from an intense discernment process, but rather from a life of allowing God to love us through his people and in return trying to love God through them.
The following is from Sr. Ruth’s Christmas letter to her family and friends.
“Miguel is a resident in the home for the elderly. He is feeling the loss of some of his mental faculties. Or perhaps I should say that the employees are feeling it; Miguel seems to live happily with the situation.
The garden at the Home has been well fenced off to prevent his entrance, but so far nothing seems to stop him from getting in. He manages to get over or under the fence, then proceeds to plug the drainpipe from the roof with big rocks and lots of soil. In our torrential rains this causes the roof to leak.
One day I decided I would be the one to undo Miguel’s work. With a rake and shovel I managed to get over the fence myself, although I am not as agile as I used to be! If I had gone under the fence, I would not have been able to get on my feet again!
The very next morning at 6:15 A.M., I saw my “friend” Miguel on the verandah. Wanting to ensure that the drain did not get plugged again, I stretched out my arms as a way of indicating he was not to go near the fence. With a big smile on his face he came up to me and put his arms around my waist and began to dance. I couldn’t resist. He didn’t remember, and I could forget the plugged drain and join in the dance.
Other residents, who were up at this “Holy” Hour rejoiced with us, clapping their hands as they watched the activity.
By the way, I am better at crawling over fences than I am at dancing !"