Day 2: Finding What We Didn’t Know We Didn’t Know

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The following was written by Abbey Bolinger about an experience as described to her by Hayley Sinclair.

When Hayley got home today she was openly excited about her day and how she saw the effect she had on one man. His name was Millard. He is currently living in a daycare facility for senior citizens with Dementia. Hayley decided to take a seat next to Millard and began talking to him. She was surprised how much he was willing to discuss, and also how happy he was when he talked, even though he had difficulties remembering details about the stories of his life. The man told her how he played in the Chicago traveling orchestra. He couldn’t remember any of the places they went, except Germany. He loved talking about Germany, because he repeatedly told her that it was beautiful. Hayley then asked him if he played any other instruments, however he couldn’t remember. So, Hayley asked if he could play the piano. He responded with, “I don’t know any songs, but I just love playing around on the keyboard.” Millard asked Hayley if she could play for him, but she was hesitant. Surprisingly, she told me how she played songs from Phantom of the opera and Fur-Elise. She noticed how mesmerized he was by her playing, so she asked him if he wanted to be taught how to play the same songs she had just played. I was shocked at how open she was to teach him, but thought it must have been an amazing moment. Hayley was interested when he told her that he could think of absolutely everything in his brain, but he couldn’t get it out to talk about it. He enjoyed just spending time with her, even though they were only playing patterns on the keyboard. At the end of playing, Hayley had made such a connection with this man that she wanted to know more, so she asked him about his family. He was a little reluctant at first because he was having trouble recollecting, but then told her he had children and grandchildren. It was like Hayley was helping him remember music and that was helping him remember his family.At the end of the day, he told her how thankful he was and what a good day he had spending it with her.

 I loved hearing her story.

Sometimes on a mission trip, it feels like we didn’t do any work, and then sometimes we feel like all the work we did won’t do a bit of good, but then other times like today, it all feels like it made a huge difference. I think Hayley made a big difference and I think Millard did too.

Hayley & Millard


Read what happened on Day III