By Ron Williams on January 18, 2018

Some folks may know I was once on the Meadowlark Board, representing Blue Valley Church. At one meeting Steve Shields made a statement something like this. “It is one of my dreams that the staff of Meadowlark Hills will look on their jobs as servants in a huge southern stately mansion. I hope that will give that kind of care to the residents.”

When we moved here just over a year ago, I was curious to see if this vision of service still existed. I am happy to say, even to shout it from someone’s fifth floor balcony, that Steve’s vision of servanthood has carried thru to today, greatly, and with magnificence.

Vera and I are retired United Methodist pastors. Of course, for the most part, we have been treated well, with respect and kindness. Sure, there have been times, or there have been the exception, but, for the most part we have been treated well.

But, I have a strong, deep voice that could sometimes be taken as anger or rudeness, whether that was what I was trying to express. As I have grown older and become a bit forgetful, I have had a growing fear, as many of us have, that I will have a growing dementia and less control of my temperament and behavior. I imagine that this is common among the 80+ generation. 

With the strength of my voice, personality, and vocabulary, and the possibility of losing some of my self-control, I have had the fear of simply becoming a cranky, loud, obnoxious old man. (Vera might say I have already made it.) I have the fear of becoming a person unpleasant to be around. How would staff people treat me at that point?

I need to say that since we have moved here, I have observed very few times when the decorum of the residents was less that polite, proper and gracious. But we are campus of some 400 old folks, with aches, pains, frustrations, often having to do things we don’t want to, in places we would rather not be and often without the mental acuity to deal with life’ challenges. We often have reason to be cranky.  

But, the Steve Shields’ dream of having a staff with a culture of compassionate servanthood stands strong and complete. I don’t know if it is selective hiring or training or whatever, we residents are blessed with a staff that Is compassionate, polite, caring and dare I say, sweet, always.

So, probably Vera and I are here permanently, and I am assured by experience that if I become a cranky, loud, difficult, harsh old man, I will still be treated with compassion, kindness, and dignity.  And I have peace. Thanks Steve; thanks Lonnie; thanks to all Staff!