The other night on a busy shift at the hospital, I had just "settled down for a long winter's nap" (in the late-wee hours of the morning) when the pager alarmed. A family member of room H797 wanted information about ABC house, a place where folks from out of town can stay for free.
I rubbed the mascara out from below my eyes and put on my glasses. I grabbed the brochure from the office on the way. An elevator here, a long hallway there, my mind still zonked while my body found its way to the room. The nurse pointed, silently mouthing to me that the daughter of the patient was waiting.
I introduced myself and indicated that I had brought the information she requested. I stood awkwardly on one edge of the empty-of-patient room - Dad was off for a test. Daughter and mother-in-law sat in the only two visitor chairs, each on opposite corners of the room.
Expecting that the visit would be a "short one," I finished my little schpeel and asked about her father. What was he like? My tired body stood there while my mind would not wake up. My eyes were watering a bit from the dry air conditioning. My feet felt the floor and I semi-leaned on the wall, shifting my weight occasionally and kneeling to be sight-level of the daughter at times. I am pretty sure that I was not mentally or emotionally present, but I kept standing there. I didn't even have enough wherewithall to interrupt her droning-on story.
She began somewhere in the middle and began recanting how they got here, to this hospital, this time, for this reason. She continued on and on and on. I cannot for the life of me remember what she said. Some time later, I think I came-to. She was crying and reaching out for me. She asked me for a prayer.
I realized that during that hour I was probably at my chaplain worst. Despite that, she thanked me profusely for the visit. I left in just as much of a daze as when I arrived. I silently mouthed "thank you" to the nurse outside the room. And, by the grace of God, this woman found my presence to be healing. Grace Grace and more Grace.
And - showing up to that moment, like a zombie, anyway.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor 12:9