by Robin Barben
Marsha Lutz is a volunteer at Fern Lodge and she says her main goal is to make people happy, to give comfort, and to make someone’s day a little better. So what drives a woman who, among many, many accolades, was a three time All-American Champion in diving, was the first female inducted in the U.C. Davis Athletic Hall of Fame, played in over 35 U.S. National Golf Championships, and was a worldwide Military racquetball champion, to volunteer twice a week for 5 1/2 years?
“I love moving, sports and activities,” Marsha says, “and I love sharing that love with others.” Marsha is the Fern Lodge champion at taking residents for walks or wheelchair rides up the hill, and she shares her love and understanding of nature along the way, and the patients always come back smiling and refreshed. She also leads a movement class at Fern Lodge, where residents rediscover that movement is natural with God, because that’s where all movement originates.
“When I first came to Fern Lodge, I wanted to find out more about Christian Science and why it was so important to my Mom. Because of Christian Science she had a wonderful life and I wanted that same kind of life. It ended up changing my life. I learned here that God really does heal. Between the reading of the Christian Science Journal and Sentinel articles, and Lectures which I read weekly to the residents here, and the prayers I received from a nurse when I had some challenges, I have seen many healings. I am growing, and learning to be a better person, One day after a nurse, a dear friend, prayed for me, I noticed on the way home that some tumors I had on my face had just vanished.”
The clarity that Kathleen, Donna, and I all saw on Marsha’s face that day (and since then) reflected a clarity that is springing up spiritually within her. It’s a softer touch, a sweeter love, a compassion and kindness, which were already there, but are finding a deeper daily expression in fulfilling the needs of others.
When I first met Marsha, I was aware of her military background, (she served in the Air Force for 13 years), and I saw how her leadership qualities were very helpful in encouraging residents to come to activities. But what I have learned lately is to appreciate her achievements in the military in a more spiritual way. Knowing that she was the first female assigned remote duty (in Turkey), the first female to command a squadron, the first female director in the Strategic Air command, and the first woman to lead air traffic control operations in the Pacific air forces, opened my eyes spiritually to the qualities she was expressing. She had demonstrated strength and excelled in a culture where women were fighting to be recognized.
Marsha often has told me, “The feeling I get when I come to Fern Lodge is ‘this place is love.’” She said, “Although I have a had a tremendously rewarding life, there is more to life than personal achievement. It didn’t make me a complete person. When I am at Fern Lodge, I feel I am contributing. Nothing is as rewarding as helping people.” That’s why we are here: to help each other, and to learn to love.