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Perhaps it was the large dose of steroids, but I did see light from my hospital bed.
Let me tell you right away:
The light I saw was not the light of heaven experienced by those having “near death” experiences.
However, the light I saw did remind me of our Maker.
There’s a song I remember that goes something like this:
“This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine, let is shine, let it shine, let it shine . . .”
The light I saw was inside of some incredible people who, intentionally or unintentionally, ministered to me while I was in the hospital for over two weeks this past summer.
Some were strangers, others were family members or friends. All made me see how we all have a way to serve, and each unique mission God has given us was given on purpose for a purpose.
Some people let their lights shine so bright, that
I’d love to share their lights with you.
For the majority of my hospital stay, I couldn’t keep my eyes open that long and was often wondering when my headache would go away. Alone with my thoughts and the sound of the tv, a sound from the hallway caught my attention.
It made me sit up and listen intensely.
Cupid draw back your bow
And let your arrow go
and I couldn’t help but sing “straight to my lovers heart for me“!
He kept singing. I needed to know who he was. He came in and with a huge smile, and gave me my lunch.
That was the day I met Myron.
I told him I heard him singing and sang with him. He said, I was wondering who that was!
From that day on, while I was in that hospital, I insisted my door stay open during the day. My wonderful nurse Justin told me, “I’ve never heard him sing the same song twice”.
I would listen for Myron every day. One day I heard him singing “Amazing Grace”. I walked out into the hallway to hear him more clearly. He was in another patient’s room and the nurse Justin explained, “her last name is Grace.”
At one point my husband and son came to visit and I couldn’t wait to introduce them both to Myron. I asked him if I could video him singing “America the Beautiful” and he kept smiling and agreed. I wish the quality of that video came out much better so I could share it with you.
But trust me, it sounded awesome.
I couldn’t help but think of St. Martin de Porres as I saw how Myron let his light shine for the patients in the hospital.
Everything, even sweeping, scraping vegetables, weeding a garden and waiting on the sick could be a prayer, if it were offered to God.”
Myron was a gift to me during my hospital stay. I think he’s not only a gift to every patient he delivers meals to, but the nurses and staff in the hospital that see him embrace his work with such a positive attitude. Plus, he’s got a great voice and fantastic taste in music.
I don’t know if Myron thinks about his singing as something to “offer God”, but I certainly was thankful for it.
Myron was not the only one who shared his God given talents during my stay on the neurology floor.
Conrad, the nurse’s assistant, comes to mind immediately.
Conrad probably never expected to use his drawing skills when he walked into work that summer day. But his artistic talent came in handy when my nurse was informed that I needed an eyepatch. Another nurse jokingly said, “you should draw an eye on it”. Justin told me someone said “you should draw an eye on it” and I laughed and said, “yep, you should. In fact, I will not wear that eye patch until there is an eye on it!”
Did I mention I was given a large dose of steroids?
Justin laughed and said, “wait a minute” and walked out. Then he asked Conrad to draw an eye on my eyepatch.
He did, and I wore it.
You should have seen the double take the guy taking the trash out of my room did when he saw it.
Later, I asked Conrad if he would draw a prettier eye with some makeup on it. He did.
We all laughed.
I can’t talk about others truly shining with God’s love without mentioning my family and good friends who helped watch the kids while Matt went to work or visited me.
- I have to tell you about my sister Alicia who is a nurse. She was by my side almost every day, making sure she knew what tests were done, what tests weren’t, what each result meant and what actions the physicians should be taking. At one point she was calling her hospital and trying to get me in it since we were still without a diagnosis. And when she wasn’t with me at the hospital, she was at my house with my other sister Veronica washing my dishes.
- Then I went to another hospital and my sister Theresa practically decorated the room like it was being prepped for a Potter Barn catalog photo shoot. She was disappointed we couldn’t light a candle, but didn’t let that stop her from bringing an ambiance of home to all who entered the room. She hung up a car freshener on my bathroom doorknob. She brought framed pictures of my kids. A vase full of flowers that were placed next to the other vase of flowers from my youngest sister. I think she might of secretly thought about changing the window treatments.
- My in-laws brought my son to see me and the trip included a train ride which he LOVED. They also helped him get ready for school by getting him his uniform.
- My parents helped with childcare and household chores. The help continued when I came home to heal and recover.
- My neighbor Carrie, who I should just start calling St. Carrie of Pennsylvania, put in so many hours with my children she could probably teach a course titled, “how to be the world’s best nanny”.
Sometimes, the light I saw was in the laughter I was able to experience with people. My sister watched Kathleen Madigan with me and my brother listened to Jim Gaffigan with me. They giggled with me and that was such a gift.
There were even times when the light of others allowed me to remember my own light.
One nurse’s assistant who let her light shine was a beautiful young woman who’s name is Maria.
Maria walked into my room and we looked at each other and both thought immediately, “I know her”.
It didn’t take long for us to realize, she was one of my former students and I was one of her teachers from high school.
Maria took my vitals and caught me up on her life. She smiled and made me feel a little more at home with her kindness and familiar face. But that is not all she did.
Maria came back to not be one of my nurses, but just to be one of my visitors. She sat with me. She told me about when she was sick and had no diagnosis. She showed me pictures of her daughter. And when the memories came up of me being her teacher, she assured me that she noticed my hard work and dedication.
I can’t express in words how much that meant to me.
While she let her natural light beam, she allowed me to see my own.
So did my youngest sister Veronica when she wanted a picture with me laying in my hospital bed. I couldn’t move my face to smile but I was happy she wanted a picture with me 🙂
Being so dependent on others allowed me to experience God’s love in a unique way this summer. Through others letting their lights shine, through the power of prayer (read more here: The Power of One Rosary) and through small miracles (Like this one: When a Silent Prayer and a Kind Act Go Hand in Hand) I was able to step back and see that love comes in different forms, and how each person is called to love differently – and that makes us work together beautifully.