My dear friend David Templeton has never met a stranger. On a Colorado hike with him several years ago I noticed he always greets others, even total strangers by looking them in the eye and saying hello. David is intentional about acknowledging everyone and he shines with enthusiasm as he does so. I decided that day on our trail in the Rocky Mountains I would do likewise and I committed to being an encourager every chance I get. I believe noticing people honors them. Maybe their day is even brightened when they receive a warm smile and a cheerful Hello.
Somewhere along this cancer journey with mom I lost my will to look people in the eye. I became aware of it yesterday afternoon walking down a hospital corridor, my head hanging. My eyes have frequently filled with tears these past few days especially. I can’t stand pity but in my tearful state, pity often stares back at me in the expressions of nurses, other caregivers, even strangers in ICU & the hospital cafeteria. I feared if I saw concern in the eyes of others I would “lose it”, cry all over them. A couple of times I almost did. So I put my head down and everywhere I walked I stared at my feet.
Last night I received an email from another precious friend, this one clear across the world. She was up in the middle of her night praying for mom and me and she wrote, “may you both be used as an encouragement and witness of God’s greatness, peace and mercy for all the doctors, nurses, families, patients you encounter. He is GOOD. He loves you both.”
There was a strong message in her words, “be an encouragement…”
Living in the midst of anguish does not extinguish the Light of Christ in us. There is much darkness and despair in an ICU. If God sees fit to put Momma here, it is for His Glory. Who am I to hang my head and perpetuate the despair? My friend is right, God is GOOD. All the time. That is not a simple saying. It is Truth.
At the end of her shift this evening, Momma’s nurse who has been an ICU RN for 12 years came in to our room to say “good night”. She leaned into my sweet mother and spoke sincerely, “It has been an honor and privilege to care for you.” Despite all her suffering, my mother had been a strong witness of God’s greatness, peace and mercy for this nurse.
I pray that I can do as much as I trust the One Who is the Lifter of my head.
“But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.” Psalm 3:3 ESV