Sarah weeps, no longer silently in her own room, for she has no private room of her own. Her body now confined to the prison of a wheelchair, her home is now in the public halls and rooms of the place she is now supposed to call home. Cries of help and weeping slide down the polished halls, echoing the silent pleas of the many trapped inside bodies and minds no longer wanted outside of the box’s doors.
Jed, a man whose compassion was beaten out of him as a child, scathingly begins a torrent of words he also learned at a young age, throwing them at Sarah like pots of scalding water, his conditioned anger a reflection of the anger poured out onto his young body, mind and heart.
Just like in the schoolyard, the onlookers stare with faces, the other residents’ own memories of what happens to children in schoolyards who speak up the closest to the surface of their minds.
And just like in the schoolyard, the responsible ones scurry in to break up the verbal scuffle to avoid anything worse from happening.
Observing faces fade into the background of Henry’s mind as he wanders the halls, back and forth, back and forth, because that is all there is to do now in such a place.
The usual crowd feeds on the dramas unfolding, the gossip to soon be shared, like their own television show, live before them, while those seeking peace and solace of any kind, try to drown out the noises of so many different kinds of people shoved into small spaces more akin to stables in a barn than homes the places are supposed to be, by sitting close to their televisions to see what they would rather see and hear than what surrounds them.
Caring for the once-little-boy Johnny who refuses to yield to their demands, responsible ones shake their heads and try to soothe, but the boy and the man are determined not to be penned and caged and the battle of wits wages, till reinforcements are brought in and the drugs win for another night.
Tucked away in her mind, Alison prays every moment to be set free from the body she was taught to hate and still does, while Jared, shuffles happily, his mind never one to think beyond the moment. Walter slaps people on the back when someone walks by and Aaron yells hello at every passer by.
Crammed together as they are in the nursing home halls, it is easy to see the children they once were … crammed together in a classroom … a box meant to shape them a certain way … a box designed to cut off, like a piece of putty is when shoved through a square mold, bits deemed hazardous to the group’s health, but when we cut off bits of people to make them what we think and want them to be, the loss is felt and though scars do cover the gaping wounds, the person does not heal nor is ever whole again, especially since these people cannot go home … for this school-like place is their home during their last months and years.
Most of us are wounded in such ways because we have not changed the way we shape our world from childhood onward and the evidence is found not only in our nursing homes but still in our schools and news … shaping the nursing homes of the future in much the same way.
For Sarah, Jed, Henry, Johnny, Alison, Jared, Walter and Aaron whose identities are protected by The Respect Principle but whose stories are very real, one sees them in the nursing home, in the school halls and some on the news where neglect and abuse … Disrespect has taken its toll and exacted the price of their life.
Treating people as objects, teaches people to treat themselves and others as objects to be shaped, at any cost, to what others want them to be … we teach people repetitiously how they are not okay and then wonder why such people think others are not okay. The rest is history, present and if not changed, future too.
Awareness first. Desire for change second. Effort for change third. Success finally fourth. Much more success if more quickly and broadly we unite on changing our world by changing our underground philosophy from Disrespect to Respect …
Connecting the Dots … with The RESPECT PRINCIPLE Developer and Author
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April 22, 2013