Girl Planting seeds

Lunch Time's Lesson

Lunch Time's Lessons

Amid the halls of a busy hospital, packed school, or humming office, the words “I’ll skip lunch today” can often be heard.  Many of us work right on through once in a while if not regularly, no matter what job we’re in.


On Thursdays in our office, always busy with the end of the work week approaching, I’d hear the sound of our volunteer Ruth’s footsteps and know that extra help had arrived. “Good morning!” she’d say with a beautiful smile.  After a few hours of helping out in the office, she’d ask, “Are you going to the cafeteria today?  The chocolate frozen yogurt is the best.”  Over sandwiches arose conversations of family, kids, work and life.  Her wisdom from years of teaching first and second graders was boundless, and her energy resonated around her.  


This spring, Ruth passed away, and that pause in the day, that bright smile and unmistakable laugh, was lost.  She probably never knew this or maybe in her quiet way, she did:  For those she worked with at HackensackUMC, all of us from different life stages and circumstances, time with Ruth meant a chance to reflect and laugh.


Ruth’s help and companionship taught me that God somehow fills in the blanks that others have left.  It’s these special people who may be in our lives just for a season, but what they taught lives on.  If Ruth had her way, we'd all enjoy lunch every day.  So take some time out, and never rush so much that you miss savoring what’s on the plate in front of you.







About Erin S. Ihde, MA: 

erin_ihde-cropped_photo  Erin S. Ihde is Research/Project Manager at The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center at Hackensack University Medical Center.  She specializes in children's environmental health research and education, particularly on eliminating exposures to everyday toxins.  Research concentrations include a pediatric multi-site clinical trial on a non-toxic treatment, and the environmental factors associated with autism and other chronic illnesses.  Ms. Ihde founded the hospital's Integrative Pediatric Onocolgy Group, a multi-department effort to research new adjunctive modalities in the integrative treatment of children's cancer.  She enjoys presenting on green living and greening the home to school groups and adults alike.  Erin Ihde has an MA in Environmental Education from New York University, where she received a fellowship from the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education, and holds a BA in English from the Honors Program at The College of New Jersey.     



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