Chaplain: Get to know Marie Allen
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Front row: Marie and Clyde Allen Back row: Bill Allen, Karen Dorway and Linda Lynch[/caption]
By Diane Gunsolley, Aberdeen Village chaplain
As chaplain, one of my greatest delights is getting to know the people who live at Aberdeen Village and their families. When someone trusts me with their story, I consider it a precious gift. Like discovering precious metals, getting to know someone well is rare and valuable.
To my great sadness, some of the people who live here aren’t able to tell me their story. The ravages of advanced Alzheimer’s and other dementia have stolen their ability to communicate. I gain glimpses from a smile or dancing eyes but I miss the details and need to rely on family to paint the picture so I can view the masterpiece God created.
Today, I invite you to begin a journey of discovery with me. Let’s get to know Marie Allen. Marie has lived at Aberdeen Village for the last year and a half. She is not able to tell her own story at this time; however, she has done an amazing job of doing just that since the early 1970s by keeping journals.
Marie’s children are using the Internet to make her journal entries available to all of us. They believe that Marie’s 98 journals are a treasure, and I agree. If you have Internet access, you can read Marie’s meditations at meditationsofmymomsheart.com.
If you’re not Internet savvy, I have another option. For the next few months, I hope to post Marie’s work in the elevators and email out to staff as our weekly devotionals. Marie’s daughter Karen said: “The Lord put it on my heart some time ago to publish these entries, but I had a few false starts and, to be honest, plain old procrastination. Mom self-published a small book of the meditations some years ago, and that little book has blessed so many that we are excited to share this wisdom with others. (We have mom’s permission.) If you find this blog helpful, please pass the link on to others.”
Thanks to the generosity of Marie’s children, we can now read Marie’s own thoughts as recorded in the preface of the book she published:
Nine years ago, my friend, Mary Lou Roussel, gave to me a book consisting entirely of blank pages, accompanied by the following note:
"Knowing how you love to collect thoughts and things -- ideas of a philosophical nature- I feel this book is meant for you. Fill it with thoughts meaningful to you -- those you want to hang on to. And I hope in future times they may be helpful to you, me and others whose lives you touch."
This book has changed the course of my life, as I have preserved the thoughts gleaned in quiet communion with God, rather than letting them slip from my memory. In reading the entries made over the years and comparing them with the path my life has taken, I realize that many of the thoughts were prophetic. Had I known of the circumstances which would occur for some of them to be fulfilled, I would have been fearful. However, God’s grace is sufficient, and I now claim by conviction what I claimed nine years ago by faith: "But we know that for those who love Him, for those called in agreement with His purpose, God makes all things work together for good."(Romans 8:28)
I asked daughter Linda what she hopes comes from sharing the meditations with Aberdeen Village. She replied, “Our hope is that Mom’s meditations will help others and that her caregivers will get a glimpse of who she truly is.”
Enjoy your first glimpse of the authentic Marie Allen and her God, and look for future installments each week as we appreciate Meditations of Marie’s Heart:
“How much more tolerant we are of behavior when our own family is involved than a stranger! We find ‘extenuating circumstances;’ we know there is something in the background which has contributed to the behavior; we are convinced that since the person is related to us, there must be something other than innate cruelty involved.
“We need to keep ourselves reminded that, once we accept that we are God’s children, claiming our inheritance of His character, His creations, and His other children as a part of us, being members of the same family, we are dealing not with strangers, but with family members at all times.
“The members may be ignorant of the common bond, they may disclaim in every word and action the character of the Father, and yet when their inheritance is revealed to them, it provides the opportunity for them to see themselves in a new, better and potentially transforming light.”
-- By Marie Allen