Help Us Help Others

Help Us Help Others
Chaplaincy Clark County

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Who's Your Neighbor?

Good morning,
I pray the day finds you well.

My sister-in-law Chrisanne and her husband Jeff came for a visit.

They spent over a week with us. Chrisanne had just retired, she also has Juvenile diabetes, she has had this for over 40 years. We were having a wonderful time however, on Friday, she started feeling funny. By Friday evening we ended up in the emergency room at Southwest Medical.

I had dropped off Chrisanne, Jeff, and my wife Laurie at the emergency room door and then parked the car. When I walked into emergency I checked in with the family to make sure everyone was doing ok. I then looked around the room and saw one of the YMCA volunteers sitting there with his wife. I walked up to him and said, “John, what are you doing here?” He looked up, saw me standing there, and asked the same thing.

I told him my story, he told me his.

I sat with John and his wife telling him that he would be ok and doing my best to alleviate his anxiety about being there in the first place. I sat with them until they took them back.

I then looked around the room and my heart broke.

The room was packed with people. Life happens. Something went wrong and they ended up in E.R.

I walked up to a teenage boy and his mother. I asked why he was there. He showed me his hand, it needed stitches. He was scared, his mother looked tired. I sat with them until they went into the back.

I then noticed a young man and his wife. He was very sick, she was very scared. He was dying of cancer. He had just been released the day before after surgery for his cancer and he wasn’t doing well. I sat with them and listened. I do a lot of listening as a chaplain. I prayed with them and listened some more. Many times there is nothing that I can say to make people feel better, so I just sit with them and listen.

Chrisanne ended up spending the night in the hospital, Jeff stayed with her.

The next morning when Laurie and I came back to the hospital, we brought books and games to play. One of the books Laurie brought was “Dancing with God, seeing God in the Everydayness of Life.” The nursing staff was awesome and very helpful. They took the time to talk with Chrisanne and answer her questions. Laurie thought I should give “Dancing with God” to the nurse, so I did. She started reading the book, she started talking about the book to her co-workers. She came back and thanked me for the book, “It helps us get through the day.” She said. Chrisanne was released around 6pm Saturday night.

Sunday morning, I went to the church at the YMCA to talk about the Summer Feeding Program that is starting on Monday. The Summer Feeding Program is where we feed hungry kids that don’t get a meal at home because they are in the hot lunch program at school. Now that school is out the go long times between meals. We feed them lunch every day. When I got home everyone wanted to go for a picnic up the Washougal River. We packed up the stuff and off we went.

We drove up to a lookout spot in the mountains to have our picnic. That is when we noticed the smoke.

A forest fire had just started. We called it in. I drove the jeep down to meet the first responder. I led him back up to the spot where we saw they smoke. He took over and coordinated the fire teams. About a half hour later the helicopter with the water bucket arrived and started dropping water on the fire. As we drove down the mountain we saw the fire teams getting ready for the hike to the fire.

I made the joke that our weekend started in the E.R. on Friday, and we ended up saving the world on Sunday.

Then that still soft voice nudged me it said, “You did save the world, not the entire world, but the part that you had the ability to save. You helped people relieving their pain on Friday. You encouraged an overworked hospital staff on Saturday. You made a call for help to feed hungry kids Sunday morning. Then you saved a small part of My creation Sunday afternoon. I didn’t call you to save the entire world, just be My Hands and Feet to those that I have put in front of you.”

The still small voice said, “Who’s your neighbor? Friday it was the people in the E.R. Saturday it was the hospital staff. Sunday morning it was hungry kids. Sunday afternoon it was My Creation itself.”

I was humbled by this. I also thought, “How many times I have sleep walked through the day and didn’t notice my neighbor."

I will endeavor to be more awake.

My prayer is that we all stop trying to save the whole world and become more intentional about saving the little piece that God has put in front of us. There is an old saying, “Many hands make light work.” If we all just do the little bit that we can, a whole lot can be done. A whole lot for Christ.


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