Come As You Are, Leave Changed

There is a billboard I pass each day, advertising a new church. It reads ” Come As You Are, leave changed“.Having been raised in the church, I fully understand what  the proposed message  is trying to convey. The name of the church advertising is  “The Crossings”…….follow me here. 

The Director of Nursing was hitching a ride home the other day when she noticed the billboard.  The conversation we had went something like this:

“Come as you are, leave changed.” What kind of slogan is that? That makes no sense.” she said, as she stared at the billboard.

“Well it’s a trendy, catchy phrase that means anyone is welcome. I think it’s meant to make people feel comfortable.” I offered. (I wasn’t too sure of her personal religious beliefs, so I was careful not to overshare…..)

“That doesn’t make any sense at all. How can that kind of transition be comfortable for anyone? It’s not that simple just to walk in, make the commitment and hand over your life savings…..very misleading, very misleading. And what change? ” She was growing more irritated the longer we sat at the stoplight, directly beside the billboard. 

For a moment,I was perplexed as to what to say to her. I was debating in my mind as to whether or not I should express my views, but again, I try very hard to avoid engaging with any staff member about politics or religion.I respect their right to privacy and personal choices.

” Well I think the message they are trying to convey is that you really don’t have to change anything; you are welcome just the way you are and the changes will come later by your own choosing…..that’s just my opinion.” I felt that was a safe statement,,,,,,

“Are you being serious right now?!” I could feel her staring at me as the tone in her voice changed. ”  People trust us to care for them, meet their needs, Any changes made, we make. We alter their behavior with medications, we serve them food we plan and cook, we. tell them what time to go to bed, when to wake up……..”

“Wait, what are you talking about?” I interrupted.

“The sign! That stupid sign. The people don’t leave changed! How can they change? They have dementia….”

“What????That sign has nothing to do with dementia……” I was growing more confused by her remarks.

“Then what kind of place is it? The last time I was there, they HAD dementia patients, I saw them with my own eyes.”

” So you have been to that church and seen dementia patients???” I asked.

“Church? Who is talking about a church? Its not a church. Its an assisted living down on Drake Street. What are you talking about?”

Then it hit me. There is a new facility called “The Crossings” as well as a church, “The Crossings”. Ahhh, confusion now has light shed on it. We laughed as both identified our blunders during the conversation. The more we talked, we continued to compare the likeness of the two buildings, seeing that both do promote “change”.

Dementia does change people; changing their memories, thoughts and cognitive skills…..dementia promotes change. Dementia does not discriminate based on your social class,background experience,Ivy league or non- Ivy league degrees….dementia does not care about who you are, where you came from or how you got there.      Changes will follow as the disease begins to progress…..everything changes.

So maybe the billboard could be used to advertise either organization……but gee whiz. Change. Change is indeed the only constant we will experience in this life regardless of what any billboard says. The question is, how will we cope with, adjust  and adapt to it?  

But you know what? If you really want a billboard message……this is my favorite:


Problem Solved.


3 thoughts on “Come As You Are, Leave Changed

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