In July, we welcomed Chaplain Cathy Nickse to our UMH family. Cathy serves as the Coordinator of Spiritual Care for our Wesley Village Campus, offering guidance and support to our residents, families, and staff. Cathy will be contributing to our blog on a regular basis, sharing her thoughts on spirituality, life, and aging. We are thrilled to have her as a guest writer!
Yesterday I noticed the first of some Maple leaves turning to their fiery orange and red colors that announce that fall is soon coming. Last night I noticed that it got dark sooner than it did last week. And I know that soon the kids will return to school, as I hear about tax free week and back to school sales. In short, change is in the air.
Even as I notice these small changes, I reflect that there is nothing more constant than change. Change happens all around us, every day, all of the time, and as we age, change becomes more constant than ever. Some changes we welcome, and others not so much. Some changes are exciting, while others are frightening or painful. Some changes are those we decide to make. Others, so many others, are changes that are thrust upon us, changes that upset our equilibrium. Many changes come about as the result of loss or failure. How we handle change will depend largely on whether we see it as an unwelcome stressor or as an exciting opportunity for new growth.
It’s just part of being human to wonder why changes have come into our lives. Many times when changes seem a bit too much, when change is the last thing we want, when change feels unfair and is more than a little bit frightening, we turn to God and ask, “Why?” As we lose those we love, make changes in our home address, find that we have a new or worsening illness, or find ourselves in any number of lifestyle changes, it’s pretty natural to wonder why. Rarely have I immediately heard an answer to my question of why, and sometimes the question never seems to be answered. I have found it more useful to change the question from why to what. What can help me through this? What can help me cope with this change? What can I learn from this? What ways can I grow through this? What is the way for me to use this difficult experience to do some good in my community?
The question of what, rather than why, can ease the pain of unwanted endings and offer the possibility of the hope in newness and beginnings. For those caring for an aging loved one, try to acknowledge how difficult change can be and together, seek to uncover the answers to the questions of what, rather than why.
A good friend of mine found her life taking a completely unexpected direction as a result of a change. She had always been an A student in French, but when she started High School, she found herself failing the class! She went to her guidance counselor to request that she be able to drop the French class, and the only thing that fit into her schedule was to join the chorus. She’d never really sung before but thought this new class would be better than failing the old. It turned out she had quite a gift for singing, and she ended up with a full scholarship to college to study voice. Today, she sings professionally, teaches voice, and has blessed too many people to count by sharing her beautiful gift.
Speaking of change, the fact that I have joined the UMH family as the Coordinator of Spiritual Care is a significant change. It’s a change for me and a change for UMH. I just want to say that I am thrilled to be here with you all, sharing, growing, and experiencing life together. I am honored to go forward in building upon the firm foundation laid by those before me. I have already been getting to know so many of you and look forward to getting to know you all, as you in turn get to know me. Please seek me out at any time. As we move forward I welcome your ideas, your suggestions, your requests, and your concerns. As we grow and experience change together, may we gain strength and courage for each new day, vision for new possibility, and hope for the future.
~ Chaplain Cathy
About Cathy Nickse
I joined the UMH family in July of 2015 and work as the Coordinator of Spiritual Care for our Wesley Village Campus, offering guidance and support to our residents, families, and staff. I began my Chaplain training at Griffin Hospital in Derby and completed my Chaplain training as a Resident Chaplain at Bridgeport Hospital in May of 2015. I work closely with members of the local community of faith to meet the spiritual needs of our residents; cultivating relationships, and ministering to the body, mind, and spirit.
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