“For the last month, I took 4 ladies who are wheelchair bound. One can talk but missing a leg, one cannot talk and has MS- she was a dance teacher in England and then the USA for years, one can talk but has had a stroke, so she cannot move from the waist down, and the fourth cannot speak or
sit up straight and has spine, hand, leg and neck deformities due to stroke and
other civilization diseases. These woman have a little spunk, so I decided to
teach them a dance with their hands and arms to 'Let it snow' for a holiday
show the other chaplain and I put together.
The other chaplain is a recording Artist. I worked with the ladies four times for about 45 minutes. Then show time.... They were a hit with the other residents and the nursing staff and families. Cheers and claps fill the halls like no other event....they were dancers! The lady who was the dance teacher had not been on the stage since 1960 when she was put in her wheel chair. This encouraged other residents to come dance with me in my chaplain dance class which will help there
breathing, core muscles, sitting positions and most of all their spirit. My
work will help life be more fun and worth waking up each day; a reason to wake
up that is not focused on who dies. I am lucky! This was my holiday’s gift!
Their joy and appreciation for what I can share. They gave me more than anyone
could give in money or gifts. They gave me love and appreciation and dedication
to grow with me!”
This was written to me by our first dance coach in 1977 and his name is Laurence E. Miller and he resides in Portland, Maine. He gave to us
and especially me, the inspiration and encouragement way back in 1977 that I, a
young woman of forty-three could be a dance competitor and a winner. I had
always wanted to ballroom dance from when I was around twenty and I had taken
some lessons at a franchised studio and I did not really learn too much; nor
was I encouraged at all. This was the way it was approached way back then. Then
when we met Laurence that cold almost wintery night in November 1977, our and
especially my life changed. I lived a life for thirty-three years that was
bordered by my dancing and in 1990 by my writing all about it in dance
magazines. Then came the Internet and I wrote my ballroom dance stories on
there and in print too. I not only had my beloved ballroom dancing to perform
it; I wrote about the glory of it for others to learn about its enormous
benefits health wise, mentally wise and socially wonderful too.
Laurence guided me for the first eight years to become a winning competitor and he and I traveled to many locations (with Jerry too) to
compete and dance and to win trophies and medals. He left Baltimore in 1985 and
he went up north where he resides now. He is ready to graduate as a chaplain
and his above story is how he is combining his dance profession with his new
chaplain profession. How wonderful for the sick and elderly to have someone
like him to be there for them emotionally and to mix dance with it too. They
have a reason to smile and not to just think about their illnesses and the
possible end. He took his career as a dance teacher and blended it with his
chaplaincy and what a delightful combination it is. Dance makes you smile,
makes you happy and most of all it is a good bit of exercise and even if they
only move their hands and arms, they have won.
They are particularly lucky to have Laurence E. Miller formerly of Timonium, Maryland up there in Portland, working at his new
profession and most of all improving the lives of these people who really
probably do not smile too much at this point in their life.
He says they gave him love, appreciation and dedication to grow with them; he is the one who gives them daily love, appreciation and all
the dedication they can absorb in their sad daily routines. He makes them smile
and to be happy when they awaken even though they have many illnesses; they can find from him what he gives to them and that is one word HOPE. They hope to
feel better at times, to look forward to the day and to appreciate in their
hearts what he transfers to them with his nice smile, witty remarks and most of
all the love he throws to them and they throw it back to him. It is a win-win
situation and he who gives them all of this reaps, a lot too. They are not
losing their lust for life; he is stirring it up again for them and he extends
their life with some dispensing of true caring for them and that is better than
all the medicines in the world. There is an expression that says “do something to make you strong.” He does that for them.
They say that “an angel gets its wings by doing something good for others.” Surely Laurence E.Miller now has his own wings.