Every Tuesday, I am a volunteer chaplain at the Indiana University North Hospital. Each week, I look forward to meeting people and helping those I encounter. When I enter the hospital, I am always looking for those who need assistance.
There are always those persons who are lost and need direction in or out of the hospital or to a doctor's office. I can read the expression on their face when they appear lost and ask, "How can I help you."
I know I represent the hospital, so I try to be as observant and helpful to those I see in the lobby or on the patient floors.
A Visitor Experience
A couple of weeks ago, I had just arrived, logged in at the computer in the volunteer office and walked across the lobby to get the mail. I am always on the look out for those who need assistance - I watch for people who seem lost or upset or nervous.
That Tuesday morning, I saw a woman sitting in one of the comfortable chairs in the atrium surrounded by a pool of spilled Pepsi on the floor.
As I went over to greet her, she said, "I must have fallen asleep and knocked my Pepsi over."
"I'll get someone to clean up." I went to the information desk to request housekeeping to come. Meanwhile, I got one of those yellow plastic signs to set near the spill to warn people to be careful.
"What kind of Pepsi do you drink?" I asked, waiting with her. She showed me the empty, plastic bottles.
"I'll be right back." I knew the cafeteria had the same kind of Pepsi she liked, so I purchased two bottles.
Realizing, I needed to check in at the chaplain's office, I handed her the bag with the bottles and went on my way, carrying with me her face of gratitude.
Did I Give Enough?
Reflecting later that afternoon, I remembered two challenges from a sermon I heard two days prior to my encounter with the woman.
"God, help me recognize you in this moment."
"God, if you can use me today, help me pay attention."
I gave my self a rating of fifty percent on my response to this woman, wondering why I didn't take a few extra minutes to ask why she was in the hospital or how she was doing, especially since she had fallen asleep in the chair.
The following Tuesday, I walked by the where she sat with Pepsi all over the floor and seat cushion and asked myself why I didn't interact with her further.
That spot is also a reminder to take a few extra minutes to be present to all of God's children and inquire about their circumstances, especially when I am at the hospital. There was nothing urgent at the chaplain's office to prevent a few more minutes with this woman. People need one hundred percent of me when I am there to serve.
Questions for Reflection
1. Who do you see each day? Be present to those you encounter wherever you go. Ask God to open love and compassion in your heart to extend to others.
2. Take time to care for those you see or those you know by listening to their concerns or celebrating their joys.
3. Record these moments in some way so you can remember how you have been the heart of God to others.
Prayer: God, we are surrounded by your people wherever we go. Help me to pay attention, to be present and care for those I see. Help me take a few minutes from my personal agenda to listen to those who may need a kind and compassionate ear, for my heart's desire is to love others in your name. Amen.