Saturday, November 29, 2008

TCB--Hospitals


The hospital scene is never glamorous, but at Christmas time especially it is a place nobody wants to find themselves. The contrast between where you want to be and where you are has got to be starker at Christmas than any other time of the year. Because of this, I can't think of anything that would be better during this season than doing something for the families who are in this situation.

There isn't just one way to go about doing this, but I have been given several great possibilitis that I'll share. The one we have chosen to do with our family is to adopt a family from our local Children's hospital to visit and help throughout December. Many of the people who find themselves at St. Jude are very far from home, without the support of friends and family that is so valuable during difficult hospital stays. I cannot imagine the stress and loneliness that can build up for these families, and it is my hope that by baking some goodies, visiting the family, and bringing a few presents, we can at least show that family that they are loved and cared about, even though they are so far from home.

Another idea is to visit a waiting room at a local hospital, passing out Christmas packages to those who are there. Coloring books for kids, snack bags with cookies, granola bars, and drinks, and any other small thing that could help make a long stay in a waiting room a little bit more comfortable.

Something else might be to get involved with a Ronald McDonald house or a Target house or something similar and volunteer to cook dinner for the entire house one evening. What a blessing that would be to the families who find themselves living mostly off of fast food, hospital food, or anything else that doesn't quite measure up to a home cooked meal.

Finally, preparing gifts for the patients themselves, even if you can't personally see them, would be a fantastic way to help encourage and lift spirits. I believe many hospitals will be happy to pass out small gifts left at the front desk for the patients. I think an unexpected gift from a stranger could be God's way of letting some people know that they are not forgotten.

I don't know if this type of thing strikes a chord with any of you, but if it does, I hope you will look into calling a local hospital and asking what their needs are and how you can do something to minister and give back to those who are in a difficult place this season.

I am so excited that many of you expressed interest in the Christmas verse books, and I can't wait to hear stories from those of you who pass them out!

4 comments:

KingsLittleBlessings said...

Some more great ideas!! I'll share these with my family and see what they come up with. It's always so nice to be able to share with others, we've been so blessed by others at needful times in our life too!

Sheena said...

Hi Angie, Thanks for the email of the verses. I used some of yours and also added some of my favourites. I laminated mine so that they would stand up to the wear and tear of being in handbags and handled frequently. I have given mine out to family and friends as my version of a christmas card. I put the recipiants name on the front and personalised one page with a note from me which included an invitation to meditate on the verses as we approached the busy christmas season. I am pleased with how they turned out and it was a blessing to me to be able to both meditate on the verses myself and pray for the people I was giving the booklets to as I was putting them together.
Thanks again for the great idea.
Sheena

Just Me said...

As someone who spends her work days caring for sick children in the hospital, many of whom are chronically ill, thank you SO much for getting this idea out there. A little bit of kindness can go a long way, especially when you are spending the holidays apart from those you love. The Ronald McDonald House idea is really good too, and I know my local one has donation ideas too (if cooking isn't your thing!). You can learn a lot by talking to these families, and having "normal" conversations has to be a blessing too!

Great ideas!
Take care,
Amanda

Inkling said...

Those are great ideas! Thank you for sharing them with us.

Years ago, when I worked at a church, I took a call from a man who used to attend there but had moved to a different state. A family from his current church home was in our local children's hospital with a child suddenly struck by viral encephalitis that would end up stealing his normal life and eventually his very breath. There was a younger sister and the mom was about nine months pregnant with their third child. The man on the phone wanted to know if there was anything we could do.

That call started off the most rewarding thing I probably have ever participated in. We got a little gift bag together and dropped it off as far as we could go near the PICU, and somehow ended up making contact with the parents. As time went on, a respite team was formed from the members of the church. Housing was offered, toiletries and other common items were given to keep them from having to take valuable time off for a Walmart run. Meals were given. Babysitting was given for the younger sister. And many adults signed up to sit in the room with the little boy so his parents could grab a nap or a night's sleep. Of course, that was developed over time as trust grew and our sincerity was made obvious.

It just took one call to adopt one family, and a longterm friendship was made for many of the volunteers who chose to get involved. There wasn't one person involved who left without being incredibly blessed.