Changes
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A Thanksgiving Reflection, December 1, 2014

I hope your Thanksgiving was filled with gratitude and that your Christmas will include happy meetings, in person or through memories, with loved ones past and present. Mostly, I hope it will be a jubilant celebration of the Cosmic Christ who, out of the present, creates with us an unimaginable future.

It’s been a long time since we focused on Asbury Tower and those who live here. In this issue of Changes, it seems appropriate to talk about a few changes in our Tower lives.

Along with Mondays and Thursdays, we now have Saturday evening Mass in the first floor lounge. The first celebration was a real sell-out, spilling out of the lounge and making use of all sorts of chairs. The number of participants has lessened somewhat, but the Mass remains truly popular. (When is the last time you heard a Mass called popular?) Father George was the one who initially suggested it, and we were delighted, “we” meaning current Catholics, past Catholics, Methodists, Episcopalians, and “other.” Everyone is welcome and no one checks your credentials.

We recently put on a Thanksgiving dinner for sixty of us who preferred not to travel. Four turkeys were donated and money contributed toward all the usual Thanksgiving food. One of our residents handled the cooking, and it was a triumph! (Clean-up was daunting but satisfying. Have you ever washed industrial-sized containers and serving spoons at 6:30 am?)

If you suddenly come upon a picture of elderly people, your first thought may be that they certainly do look old. There’s a TV commercial currently running in our area for another Senior residence that almost seems to highlight the frailty and weakness of those who are interviewed. Unfortunately the camera catches a sad little lady at a corner table covering her face in her hands.
I suppose that we at the Tower are equally old and maybe appear weak and frail. But as we grow together over the years, I think what begins to take over our appearance are our personalities, our special identities, our interesting eccentricities, the jokes we enjoy.

Considering eccentricities, one of our chubby Asbury Tower ladies looked thinner one day and I told her so. I meant it as a compliment and most people would take it that way but she wasn’t happy. When she lost weight, she told me, it was always in her face and she didn’t want a thin face in the coffin. She wasn’t laughing and she wasn’t dying; she was just very, very herself.

One of the always-changing realities of our lives here at the Tower is our ocean. It’s so much more than scenery, more than a background view. It’s a reminder of everything in our lives that’s constant yet unpredictable, moving yet always present, near to us yet humbling. It reminds me of the universe in Stephen Crane’s poem:

A man said to the universe:
“Sir, I exist!”
“However,” replied the universe.
“The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation.”

I hope your Thanksgiving was filled with gratitude and that your Christmas will include happy meetings, in person or through memories, with loved ones past and present. Mostly, I hope it will be a jubilant celebration of the Cosmic Christ who, out of the present, creates with us an unimaginable future.

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Written by Gina Ciliberto

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