August 08, 2006

Heckled and Humbled

Today is the 1 year anniversary of the day I (Kim) started my job. Although the rose colored glasses I wore when I began were smashed a long time ago, I have to say that I really truly love my job. And, despite it's difficulties, it's been a really good year. Although, recently I experienced something that left me a little wounded and very humbled. One of the perks of my job is that, in general, my residents adore me. They all think I'm an beautiful, sweet, helpful little girl. I'm often complimented on my clothes and my teeth (in a society where most people have dentures, teeth are highly valued). I've grown accustomed to this type of treatment, which was why I was completely crushed last week in one of my activities. I was just beginning my current events group when one of our new residents wandered in. I was thrilled to have her join us, but my jubilation quickly died. I was one sentence into the first article when she held her hand up to stop me and cried out with a grimace, "Oh, your voice is so high and nasally! I can't stand it! You have to do something!" I wasn't sure how to respond since I always talk as low and loud as possible (it's easier for those who are hard of hearing to pick up low sounds so I've trained myself to talk as low as I can). I explained to her that this was my voice and there wasn't anything I could do. She responded by saying, "Oh, but it's awful! I can't stand to listen to it. You have to do something." I was mortified. I told her the only thing I could think of, which was, "I'm sorry, but there's nothing I can do. If you can't stand to listen to my voice, maybe you should leave the room." She didn't want to leave and sat back in her chair, but the activity was definitively ruined. All of the other residents weren't quite sure how to handle the exchange, and it was obvious they felt a little awkward. I was suddenly very self-conscious about my voice which only worsened during the activity as she felt a need to criticize something about every article I read ("You need to check your sources. I don't believe that's true." or "The article doesn't tell you anything more? I find that hard to believe. You should know these things." or "This is ridiculous. You're wasting their time telling them this.") It was one of the longest half hours I have ever endured. Fortunately, I have recovered...for the most part. I still am extremely aware of my voice whenever I talk, and I have slight panic attacks whenever I see this woman coming down the hall, but I appreciate it even more when I hear one resident whisper to another, "isn't she such a nice girl? And she has beautiful teeth!"


Anonymous said...

New Residents expecially ladies tend to sound like they dissagree and hate everything and they know best. Mostly its adjusting to the new situation they are put in and they really don't want to be there. Sometimes they turn out to be the best ones to be around way down the road of course. Just remember God made you perfect for his purpose and so what anyone else may feel or think. Besides In my and Dads eyes your the best and perfect Daughter and you have a great speaking voice that reaches out like your Dad's and Brothers a Great Gift from the almighty. Don't let anyone make you feel bad ever for being God's perfect creation. Love the story we have had some ladies like that too thats when I am thankful I am on the night shift and don't have to deal with it. love, mom in Ne

maggen said...

kim..... your voice always makes me happy when i hear it. it may have something to do with the fact that you're my friend and if i'm hearing you're voice it means i'm talking to you, which doesn't happen nearly as much as it did when we were in hillsdale... but hey, i never said i wasn't biased ;o)

and i'll call you up sometime soon and tell you about india.

hope all's well! :o)

Becca said...

I promise that you don't have a nasally voice!! I've always thought your voice was right there in the middle of a normal range for a girl! You were an alto, for heaven's sake! Please, do not feel self-conscious. After all, you have such nice teeth ;-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Kim, It's good that you shared this with us because we all are experts about you. You are an angel from the tip of your head to the tip of your toes!! You are doing all that you do for Jesus. Keep your eyes on Him and you will see His huge smile for you. I expect that she either always was a bitter person, or she was in great pain from this new change or both. I also expect that she will come to see that you are the angel we all know you are. Forgive her and let go. Bless her and leave her to God. I wrote an email before I read this blogg so check it when you have time. LOTS of love and prayers for you and Lucas. Grandma and Grandpa R

Anonymous said...

I doubt you remember me, but I am one of Lucas' friends from Hillsdale and was at your wedding. I actually have a specialty in elder law and love working with that age population. In fact, I am jealous of your job. I have actually volunteered at several nursing homes and on the geriatrics floor of a hospital, so I have had similar experiences to the one you described. As a word of encouragement, seniors just hate change and are often lonely, which they take out on anyone around them.

When I moved to Lawrence, KS, my friend and I began volunteering at a nursing home here, helping run bingo once a week. There were two older women (in their 80's and 90's) who just hated us. We didn't call the numbers right, we didn't do it the way they liked, we were slow, we were fast, etc. You get the point. By the time I left that volunteering position a few years later, they didn't want to play anymore because we weren't the ones who were running the game. We had totally won them over and in fact, became good friends with them and spent extra time visiting with them.

I know what a sweet girl you are and have no doubt, in time, she will be offering you the same compliments as the rest. Don't fear, just treat her with kindness and show her the love of Christ that rests in your heart! My best, Jessica

ldmiller said...

Hey Jessica,

I see from my master move -in list that your friends Kyle and Courtney move-in the first weeek of September. I will find them and have them over. Take care!