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May 18, 2022
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Crystal Springs

Nov 13 2021

As the aging population grows in northern New England, and as health care services adapt and change over time, the stereotypical 'nuring home' is becoming a thing of the past.  More and more facilities for the elderly serve a range of physical and mental needs. So when I do a show in a place such as Crystal Springs, I'm learning to expect this range to be reflected in my audience.  Some folks are there for physical rehab, others for assisted living, some are early dementia patients, others are less lucid.  Regardless, I'm always happy to share the Gospel with whomever God prompts to come out.  And today, they certainy came out.

The very elegant living room (in a wonderfully elegant facility: you're greeted by the grand staircase when you enter, there are chandeliers everywhere, it's immaculately clean) was full of folks ahead of time.  Many were clearly very lucid, and we got an earful of elder-gossip as Sue and I set up the show.  Once the program started, though, they were all attentive and having fun.

The show went very well.  I was using my brand new ipod for the first time, and it worked, well, almost flawlessly.  I went to do my last juggling rutine to a very upbeat, pop version of the Hallelujah Chorus by 70's icon Melanie, but it was actually a very slow, worshipful song titled "Go Light Your World".  There was no way I could do my planned routine to this, so I went right to my final illusion.  Apparently the young man who put all my old music on my new ipod mislabeled that one.No harm done, but now I need to check each song on there to make sure nothing like this happens again.

After the show, we got a lot of beautiful feedback from the audience as Sue brought the bunny, Cotton, around to meet everyone and I packed up the props.  In fact, the activities coordinator is also a local pastor, and I'm hoping to hear from her soon about a gig for her church.  

Then came Toni.  Toni is one of the residents at Crystal Springs who has more severe dementia.  She began very loudly and forcefully scolding me for how small Cotton's travel cage is.  She demanded that I put him imto a bigger cageimmediately, and she would need to witness this transfer.  I playfully told her that Cotton has a large cage at home, and she was welcome to come back to Maine with us to watch as I put him into it.  She wasn't appeased.  She continued demanding that I keep my rabbit in a better space (readers, please note, Cotton has a large indoor cage, and is usually loose in our living room in the evenings when we're home) and told me in no uncertain terms what a wicked man I am!  Part way into her rant, she went from calling it a rabbit to calling it a dog.  

I didn't mind the rant at all, to be honest.  If anything, I had to fight laughing, which I guess is almost as bad as fighting back.  What did happen, though, is her verbal attack upset many other residents.  Some laughed, but others apologized to us.  Others explained that she was 'confused'.  I assured everyone that it was okay, and we understood.  And now we have a fun story to tell.

But as I think back over the day, I suspect that some of the residents found Toni's outburst so upsetting because they are concerned they are looking at their own futures.  Dementia is one of the tragic results of extended life expectancies.  Don't get me wrong,, I've visited places with much shorter life expectancies that we have here in the US, I'm happy to live in a place where living into our 80's is commonplace, but it comes with unique concerns.  It's nice to know there are exquisite settings like Crystal Springs to help meet these needs and it was a blessing to be part of it today.

PS: Cotton is back in his large cage nibbling on hay even as I type.

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The presentation was fun and encouraging... The gospel message was clear and encouraging. I purchased your book and just finished it. Your scope is broad and again encouraging. May God continue to bless your ministry. I will encourage others to read your book. -Parishioner of a local church

"Hey, I  wanted to say that was a great message in chapel today! It touched something:) thanks for doing it!" -High School Student  

"We are so grateful that you brought your amazing ministry back to our church this year... The Gospel message you bring applies to all!  It is such a positive, valuable work that you do."  -Coordinator of Christian Ed. UCC Church

"There's no questioning it. This is powerful stuff. It's extremely touching at times, never less than entertaining, and I see a lot of sincere love for Jesus in you guys."  -Dwight Lilies, song writer

The Lord has given you a wonderful window through which to present the Gospel!   - Field Director of Alliance Missions to Paraguay

"What a wonderful ministry to both children and adults.  In past years it has been a struggle to arrange programing that would hold the attention of all ages, but also challenge each heart with God's gift of Salvation.  Thank you for sharing your ministry."  -Sunday School Sup't.

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