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The Servant Role

August 15, 2020

I have often quoted Orville Sherman, Timbercrest’s first administrator and the visionary who brought Timbercrest from the Mexico Home in 1968. Orville said frequently that “Timbercrest is the church in its servant role.”

As we enter yet another month of the pandemic (six now), the hubbub about all the “health care heroes” has waned. The signs have faded. The emotion has turned to burnout. Many good women and men have left health care fields for less stressful and less frustrating situations.

The truth is that you can’t do what we’ve been doing for the last six months if you’re a hero. It can only work if you’re a servant.

Only a servant can set aside their own feelings and do their best to cheer up a nursing home resident who’s been cooped up in their rooms (by the ISDH) for months.

Only a servant can continue to take overtime hours to help with one more meal, one more activity, one more visit, one more ADL.

Only a servant can see the big picture – that their risk in the pandemic is of less importance than the men and women we serve. 

There is no glory in all of this. People are getting very sick – and thank the Lord, nearly all of them are recovering. But walking with them is a selfless act done by the health care servants in long-term care, in hospitals, in clinics, in emergency rooms… you name it.

The ones who are in it for glory are already gone. It is up to the servants to continue bearing the load. Trudging on faithfully. 

Because serving older adults – no matter where – is being the church in its servant role.

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