The helpers.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Her husband was in the final stages of liver failure and I was his nurse. She called me in the late afternoon to say, "My favorite nail lady is coming by the hospital to give my husband a manicure and pedicure. If you'd like, I'd love for you to sit for a pedicure, too. Just put it on my tab!" The thought was a silly and impossible one - receiving a pedicure in my scrubs, at work, in a hospital room - but the idea was generous.

I watched the manicurist from Viet Nam lovingly crouch over a jaundiced, dying man to make him feel more human. She probably never pictured herself in a hospital room with a client who could barely respond. But as I watched her going about her work with great compassion, a Mister Rogers quote came to mind. When Fred Rogers was a young boy and would witness a catastrophe in the movies or on the news, his mother would remind him,

"Always look for the helpers. There will always be helpers... If you look for the helpers, you will know that there's hope."

I'd love to add this: so often, the helpers aren't wearing badges or stethoscopes or a uniform of any kind. They're teachers who spend many more hours than are required of them to teach kids to read. They're ladies enjoying retirement who pass their days knitting hats for NICU babies. They're nursery workers at church who allow moms to enjoy an uninterrupted hour to hear the Word. They're truck drivers who buy an extra lunch for the man who calls an underpass his home.

Always look for the helpers. They often go unnoticed, but if you look, you'll find them everywhere. In the saddest and loneliest and darkest places, they'll be there bearing the light.

For Brooks.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Brooks Wilder,

After a 12-hour shift at the hospital, which becomes 14 hours by the time I've left home and returned, one of the hardest parts is giving you what's left. It's easy to feel guilty because what's left... isn't much.

But as I rocked you tonight and soaked in your warmth, I couldn't help but think, I want to give you every last bit. Even when it would be so much easier to hand Daddy a bottle for you and head to bed, I couldn't stand to miss those precious final moments of your day.

My eyes, bloodshot and weary from watching the saddest stories flicker by, will never be too tired to look into yours, bright with hope.
My legs, sore from running down hospital corridors, are never too exhausted to bounce you in rhythm until you drift to sleep.
My arms, which ache as they pull patients up in bed, ache now to hold you.
My hands, scrubbed clean after changing wound dressings, now touch your soft, warm head.

You will always have first place in my heart, Brooksie, even when I go away for the day to be with patients. And I hope that when the day comes when God asks you to be brave and leave home and serve others, perhaps you'll see your Daddy and me and remember that with God on your side, you can. And you should. We've tasted and seen that when you spend yourself on behalf of the needy, God will give you what you need. Someday, I hope I will have the faith to lovingly push you out the door when you need that extra courage. Be brave, little love. Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.

I love you,
Your Mama
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