#EndAlz

In one of my classes last week, we talked about the idea of calling, and we decided (of course Buechner said it best, but still) that our individual personal bests lie at the intersection of what brings us the most joy, and what the world most needs. When we find things to do with our lives that meet various needs in the world, we are living out our bests.

I’ve been really getting into my creative project for Theology and Science class. I’m going to dilute my presentation topic/title down, of course, but my current research is focused on theologies of aging, theories of personhood, theologies of embodiment (which not so much deals with the mind, but it’s important to look at), which will be broad overview stuff that will lead to the main body of my project:  what happens to spirituality and faith in late-stage Alzheimer’s Disease.

It is heartbreaking and inspiring, challenging and life-giving, exciting and scary, and has left me both desperate and hopeful; all at the same time.

How is that possible?

It’s possible when you have something that is so pervasively tied to who human beings are at the center of their being: memories. What happens when memory goes? And how can I as a minister navigate the complex biological and theological issues that I will be encountering as a chaplain to persons with Alzheimer’s and other dementias?

These are the questions I will be mulling over until my presentation. Hopefully I will be able to somewhat answer them. Until then, I’m embarking on another Compassion Funds endeavor.

If you’re new to the blog, I started this blog in 2011 as a way to chronicle my journey in abstaining from eating out in an effort to find some kind of solidarity with the poor, in the chaos of my privileged life. I found it impractical to continue not eating out after 6 months, because people who want to meet and are not in grad school and have real jobs, usually only have meal times available.

The part of the project that I kept alive until recently when my finances went out of whack, was living on 50% of my grocery budget and sending the rest to charity (usually World Vision because I sponsor Hazel through them). Lately, I’ve been trying to eat as cheaply as humanly possible just to save up again.

I’m getting caught up, giving weekly to church and have been feeling called to be generous again in my giving to others.

So, beginning now, I’m going to start my Compassion Funds project again. It won’t be as structures as “every week I’m sending X amount of money here,” because I already have to do that with my ER bill from May.

But, every time I get a little extra cash, instead of coffee at 1000 Hills (which I LOVE), maybe I just study at home with my Mr.Coffee, (for whom I just bought a new pot, because the old one cracked on Mr. Coffee’s 3rd anniversary with me. We’re very happy together) and save up a few weeks’ worth of “extra cashes” and send it to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Might as well start now – I’ll be under their influence for a long time, and I want to start raising awareness, more than I have been because this is very important. As America continues to get older, this is an area that will continue to affect friends, ministers, medical staff… humans.

In doing this, one of my great joys in life –  giving – will intersect one of the world’s deepest sorrows, hopefully making me more of the person I was created to be, and ever more like Christ.

“The end of Alzheimer’s starts with me.” (Alzheimer’s Association)  #EndAlz

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