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Patients and Caregiver Stories

Encouragement during a time of uncertainties and fears

In the last few weeks we’ve all been filled with uncertainties and fears. (Will I keep my job, are my parents safe, will our physicians be okay, are my patients taking safety precautions, etc-)

Fear of illness, fear of loss, fear of the future. Yet despite the fear that we, along with our patients, are experiencing we are here today on Good Friday. The day Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for his people. What a great reminder of God’s love for us during these trying times! Now let’s revisit the life of Jesus when he walked these roads.

Jesus, the embodiment of grace, love, compassion, faithfulness. Someone who lived a life serving the broken, the poor, the most vulnerable, the lonely…

There is a story I’d like to share that I read in Windows of the Soul by Ken Gire. It is a story of a boy named Joey that suffered of cerebral palsy.

“And suddenly I have the right eyes.”

Suddenly I realized that there are many ways a person can be impoverished, and sometimes the least of those ways is materially. That was the case w/Joey.

His poverty was not material; it was relational. He didn’t need money or what money could buy. He needed something it couldn’t buy—FRIENDS. He needed, as we all need, friends who will talk to him in the hall and sit with him at lunch and have him over to spend the night. He needed, as we all need, FRIENDS who will show up at a crosstown roller rink, lean against the railing, and cheer him on.

Some people are rich in friends like that.

Joey isn’t.

Joey is an impoverished kid groping for his soul’s daily bread in the halls of his high school. With sometimes lame and socially awkward overtures, he accosts his classmates, holding out his hand for a crust of what they have such in abundance. He begs them to look beyond the disease and all it has robbed him of. He begs them to look beyond the slur of his words and the shuffle of his feet. He begs them to see Joey.”

When I finished reading Joey’s story I realized we are a lot like Joey. We were all designed for connection.

In the words of Brene Brown from, “Daring to Lead”.

“The problem, however, is that needing no one pushes against everything we know about human neurobiology. We are hardwired for connection. From our mirror neurons to language, we are a social species. In the absence of authentic connection, we suffer.”

Brene was absolutely right! We need each other. It took ONE friend to notice Joey’s desire for connection. It took one person to look, hear, and see beyond the facet of his imperfections. A friend that so bravely extended a hand to Joey just like Jesus does for us today.

And it is through Jesus’s service to others that we are reminded that He came not to exempt us from suffering but instead to promise us that He would be there to carry our burdens, fears, promising to ease our way through the dark valleys. As I wrote those words it reminded me of our mission statement here at St. Joseph’s. “Know me, care for me, ease my way.” When I say those words out loud it takes me back to all those special moments we’ve all sat across our patients and listened so closely as our patients so bravely shared their most private matters, their trauma, their hurts, successes, and failures…. I hear again…”know me, care for me, ease my way.”

So colleague and friend,

I am here today to remind you that this very moment was not created by chance, not by mistake, but with a greater calling and purpose. And I hope that whenever you sit across your patient you remember that it only takes one VERY special moment between you and your patient that can make a lifetime difference. You are extending a hand like Joey’s friend did, you are extending the hand that Jesus did when you were most in need. And today on Good Friday I am reminding each and every one of you that your work does not go unnoticed. Remember, that every advice you give will bring LIFE and understanding for those struggling. This is a very special team that God placed here right now and I hope today you leave feeling encouraged. We are in this together.

Photo credit: Serinus Canaria