Wednesday afternoon meant the final nursing home visit. These visits never got much easier for me over the summer, and today, when I was preoccupied with other things in my mind, going there was even harder. I've realized that the only way I can visit nursing home residents is by "acting", by deliberately not bringing my whole self to the interaction. Today I was under too much stress to act at all well, so I cut back a lot on the amount of time I usually spend visiting.
In our final post-visit processing discussion group, most of the conversation was focused on what's next. Will we stay in touch with residents we met? Will leaving them be hard? And so on. All of these questions presupposed a sort of bonding with residents that some people definitely experienced, and that I definitely didn't. I wonder: how much of that difference was due to the dumb luck of the people I met and only sort of hit it off with, how much was due to my general reluctance to visit or spend a long time, and how much was specifically due to my choice to "act"? Regardless, my only reflection on this part of the summer was that it was a stressful activity that I'm glad to be done with. Perhaps I should examine further what that means about me, but I'm not particularly inclined to. I'd rather just leave this as something I'm not good at and don't enjoy.
I enjoy most of the rest of the yeshiva experience a lot more, but this conversation, and the fact that we only have a few days left, left me wondering what I'm going to get out of yeshiva as a whole, and whether I had any of this sort of "bonding" with the students, the faculty, the learning, the lifestyle, the dedication, the material we learned, or any of the other aspects of yeshiva I experienced this summer. I'll be thinking about that a lot the next few days, but I don't think I'll have the real answer for at least another couple months, if not a couple years. I'm enjoying myself, for sure, but I don't know what it means yet.
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