Yesterday, my friend A and I visited with several of our older adults. We had arranged a lunch date a couple of weeks ago, but I didn't make it to visiting people on Wednesday, so I decided to hit two birds with one stone and took A along for the ride. One of the ladies we visited slipped last Saturday and fell in her bathroom, hitting her head. She didn’t tell anyone – not even her spouse of 60 years. She must have developed a slow bleed and the pressure built up. She complained of a headache on Sunday night that analgesics could not touch. By Monday morning, she couldn’t stand. The EMTs were called, Monday night she was operated on and she remains in a coma. Her husband is staying in the ICU waiting room, patiently waiting. They allow him to go and sit with her for an hour and then he waits in the waiting room for an hour. When we arrived at the hospital, he was sitting with his head hunched down, his hands dangling between his knees. The doctors don’t hold out much hope for his wife of 60 years and he sat there like a broken man. Now my friend A was a RN in her 20s. She had a brain hemorrhage when she was 25. She is now an at-home mommy, whose self-image has been damaged. Since her surgery, she has developed seizure disorders and lost much of her self-confidence. Her nursing career was so much of her identity – and as you may know, our society does not value the at-home mommy. She too is a broken person. She is an engaging, entertaining person, but one who is so lacking in self-confidence and value, that even when external validation comes along, she does not put credence in it. When we got there, A saw R’s husband and some of that old nursing instinct took over. She went to him and put his hands between hers. He rose to his feet and A whispered things in his ear for a while. They both teared up, embraced and held each other. After a while, he broke away and looked A in the eyes and said "Thank you so much." He went on to imply that what A said to him was the most hope-filled thing he had heard all week. I knew that I stood on holy ground at that moment. I watched them offer healing to each other. They reached out and were able to minister to each other out of their individual pain. Now this was not planned – I had planned to go to lunch with A long before R fell. It was a moment of serendipity. And I wonder -- is there really such thing as “serendipity?” And I wonder if serendipity isn’t just the little anonymous miracles that God does everyday.
“Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to care for strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them; and those who are ill-treated, since you also are in the body.” -- Hebrews 13:1-3