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Assisted Living

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

When was the last time you drove twelve hours in one day and old friends made dinner for you when you arrived, and those same friends put you up in a comfy room? This is how my friend and I were received as we poured ourselves out of the car after that long day, a welcome that truly softened the fact of long lists of errands and tasks ahead of us before repeating the same drive home.

My friends Nancy and Tim were generous with their space, time, and knowledge of their home town. Their support and help made those long miles and to-do lists more graceful than not, and at times even enjoyable. We couldn’t imagine what the trip would have been like without their assistance.

One morning we were asking directions for the upteenth time and Tim replied to our thanks with, “No problem, it’s just assisted living.” Before last week, the phrase has always conjured up visions of elderly people no longer able to care for themselves, surrounded by health care professionals and activity directors. Now the phrase has expanded to include the help, generosity and kindness given to me by so many friends and strangers over the years, support for which I am forever grateful.

Humbled and inspired by what I experienced last week, I now view the world through new eyes. The countless opportunities we have every day to support each other is beyond belief. Every one of us is like a lighthouse, illuminating and easing the way for others in ways we cannot begin to imagine.

No problem, it’s just assisted living.” Today I know differently — assisted living is just everything.


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