Monday, April 16, 2012

Cindy Lou Hoo and Me

My first Christmas with Wendell Foster’s Campus (WFC) warmed my heart as I witnessed the many blessings lavished on our Campus and those we serve.  I have personally felt ambivalent about Christmas for several years, especially since my mother’s passing.  I weary of the rampant commercialism and maddening chaos around it, feeling Cindy Lou Hoo’s pain in “The Grinch" as she wonders, Where are you Christmas?  I never expected Christmas with WFC would open, fill and instill my heart with faith that Christmas in its truest meaning does exist!  Christmas 2011 was the most memorable Christmas I’ve had since my return to Owensboro.

Sts. Joseph and Paul Church kick-started our Campus community’s holiday spirit with a choir performance.   Unable to attend their Christmas Cantata, I heard it was moving and festive for the audience that packed the Young Building.  Afterwards, the choir took requests and sang traditional Christmas songs, encouraging their Campus audience to join them, which several did.

Campus festivities continued with an employee Christmas party which included special guests, Mr. and Mrs. Claus, on hand to meet and greet their fans, young and old.  My Inner Child squealed with glee to see Santa, especially when he said hello and shook my hand!  Watching other co-workers’ children and grandchildren visit with Santa was a treat as they looked at the Jolly Old Man with eyes filled of wonder and awe.

WFC employees perform an annual tradition of singing Christmas carols around Campus.  Each year, administrative staff and a few board members warm up rusty vocal chords in preparation to sing holiday carols to Campus residents.  I loved caroling as a child but as an adult could never find grownups willing to engage in this time-honored tradition with me.  I eagerly volunteered to participate and while I’m not the best singer in the world, I can carry a tune.  Feeling the nip of the “Bah Humbug”, I decided sharing my warbling voice would shift my mood, never mind doing something special to dissipate the holiday blahs others may be feeling this time of year. 

Our small group of carolers visited each Centre Pointe cottage, gathering in the TV area where folks congregated to listen.  More exciting to me was hearing a few of the Cottage residents join along in song!  Despite his verbal challenge, John joined us, hitting with resounding enthusiasm the last one or two words of each line we sang.  His participation moved me, bringing tears to my eyes as I watched him revel in the spirit and joy of song.  His spirited effort outshined our group’s efforts combined.  It'd be cool if he joined us next year for the caroling!

From the cottages we moved to the Supports for CommunityLiving (SCL) houses where we caroled in front yards or inside living rooms, depending on the occupants' preference.  Once again, others joined us, including Mark, Mary, and even Butch who accompanied us on tambourine!  It was awesome, and their chiming in with us in song simultaneously surprised and thrilled me.  I am truly in awe by the countless abilities of the people we serve! 

While I was the caroler lifting others' spirits that afternoon, it was my spirit that was lifted by our Campus members.  These beautiful souls resuscitated my belief in Christmas and its spirit of love and the sharing of heart.  Oh, and Cindy Lou Hoo, Christmas can be found at Wendell Foster’s Campus.

In the Next Blog Entry:  Angels Among Us - many who we serve through our residential programs don’t have families, or have families that live out of state . . . . .”

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