Saturday, January 11, 2014

Acts of Kindness

     A hospital is a study in contrasts. As a place of employment, it is a bustling place that never sleeps. While nighttime does bring an ebb and flow of sorts, the siren's wail, the beep and whir of endless machines, and the quiet voices of the nurses and technicians as they move about the hallways remind one that the business of caring for human life in its various stages forms the crux and the impetus for the hospital.
    The waiting rooms are filled with another kind of energy. The weariness on the faces of those who shift uncomfortably in already uncomfortable chairs does little to disguise the tension and emotion that simmer beneath the surface. When the phone rings and a volunteer announces a family, you can feel the room rise, shift, and settle much like a wave in a football stadium. Sometimes the waiting seems interminable and the passage of time moves at a snail's pace. I am glad that I am not there today. Waiting in a hospital can be a difficult thing. But not today; thankfully, not today.

Hospital hallway.
   Today I am thinking that I am especially thankful for the tender mercies and kindness of health professionals: physicians, nurses, technicians and volunteers...for care given that moves beyond competence to become compassion. For hands that move with skill coupled with gentleness. For the willingness to see each patient as an individual with unique and special attributes in addition to his or her medical needs. So often the medical issue seems to dominate, but the gifted health professional has the wisdom to see beyond the need of the person to the person with the need.
   I have spent some time in hospitals recently. Either as a patient myself or alongside someone who was receiving medical care. The kindness of those who care does make a difference. Today as I prayed, I found this meditation by Teresa of Avila tucked in a page in my Bible. I offer it to all those who labor in hospitals to make a difference in the life of someone in their care. May you be blessed in your endeavors.

May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing that you are a child of God.
Let His presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise
and love.
It is there for each and every one of you.
  Teresa of Avila

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