Guest Commentary: Who are the angels in your life?I recently learned that Community Partners would be the recipient of an extensive collection of angels from one of our founding board members.
By: Kirsten Cruikshank, Community Partners , Lake County News Chronicle
I recently learned that Community Partners would be the recipient of an extensive collection of angels from one of our founding board members. Knowing this was a treasured collection to the beholder, we immediately began thinking about how we could honor her memory by using the angels in a special way. We decided to use the collection of angels as the theme for the 2010 Caregiver Conference.
The idea of collecting angels is so real to many of us: literally and figuratively. We may have a special angel on a knick knack shelf, or a mental list of people that have touched us or protected us as we imagine an angel would. Naturally, we all have different visions or interpretations of angels.
The term “angel” has been expanded to various notions of “spiritual beings” found in many religious, ethnic and cultural traditions. Even people who aren’t religious may have their own understanding of the presence of angels.
I have my own story of someone appearing randomly to avert me and a friend from danger. In 1985 my friend Susie and I landed in the Frankfurt airport excited to begin a nine-week backpacking journey across Europe. We discovered that areas of the airport were cordoned off with barricades and yellow tape stating “vorsicht” [caution]. We had some distant recollection there was a bombing reported on MPR, but we were naïve 19 year olds, full of anticipation, and nothing like a little explosion was going to deter us. Regardless of our youthful courage, the physical aftermath of the incident was alarming and quickly threw us off center. The reality of being in another country and our inability to read German hit us hard and fast. We wandered, with tense arms clutching our full packs, through the airport – trying to find transportation to the youth hostel.
In the midst of our confusion an elderly gentleman appeared from nowhere, tapped me on the shoulder, made eye contact, and guided us on the right direction. We followed his silent advice and soon found our way. Over the years my friend and I have often reflected on his appearance; white hair, shabby clothing, and a puzzling lack of luggage in the busy airport. We marvel at that little man and wonder where he came from, where he was going, and did he have wings that we couldn’t see?
I’m sure many people have similar stories of being “touched by an angel”; often a familiar face and sometimes a stranger. At Community Partners I am blessed to work with people like Linda, Bunny, Tina, Marie, Mary and many other special people whom I call upon as volunteers and/or visit as participants in our program. Family Caregivers are an ongoing source of inspiration to me and other staff members as they serve as a protector to their loved ones – often worthy of a halo. I believe that co-workers, friendly faces on the street or at church, and family members have the presence of angels if we only pay attention.
Please join us at the 2010 Caregiver Conference where our theme this year is “Angels, Angels, Angels: Who are the Angels in Your life?” Speakers Bunny Thomson and Tina Wall will reflect on how caregivers need a “collection” of people in their social network to support them as they face the day to day demands of caring for a loved one.
The 2010 Caregiver Conference begins at 4 p.m. May 27 at Superior Shores Resort. Community resource information will be available and a dinner will be shared by all. Donated items from local individuals and businesses will be featured on a silent auction fund-raiser. The three-hour event is open to the public. Thanks to local sponsors, tickets are available for $8. Call Community Partners office at 834-8024 to register. The event is sponsored by Co-op Light & Power Operation Round Up, Activstyle, Lake View Memorial Hospital and other community sponsors.