Time stands still

Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh received a B.A. from Skidmore College and was ordained as a Rabbi from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. She is fortunate to be involved in so many facets of the community including serving as the chaplain for JF&CS and an instructor for CAJE. This will be her fifth year serving as the visiting Rabbi in Decatur, Ill. She has also served congregations in both Sydney and Perth, Australia. When not writing her weekly BLOGS, she can be found running marathons.

By Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh

The clocks are not working. It is the strangest oddity. I often sit with residents in their room while we visit. I will glance at a clock then take a double take. I know that it is late morning but the clock reads 2:20. When I visit the next month, nothing has changed. No one has bothered to put new batteries in the wall clock. In some rooms it has been 2:20 or 5:30 or 9:05 for six months. I have started to think about carrying AA batteries in my bag. I have also pondered stopping at the activities office and inquiring if someone cannot correct the clocks.

And then it occurred to me. It is all a metaphor. For most of these residents nothing changes. Every day is exactly the same as the previous day. Many individuals only leave their rooms to go to the dining room. Some never have a visitor. It could be 2:20 all day, every day and it would not make a difference.

Most residents are fine with this notion. I cannot imagine. So many men and women say they have lived their lives and have nothing to look forward to. They are not excited about an upcoming wedding as they cannot attend. They speak about new great-grandchildren whom they have never held but have the photos.

Occasionally I meet an individual who has the desire and will to see and do more. Whether real or imagined, they speak about an outing or celebration they will attend. I notice their clocks are running.