I am always amazed at how God uses difficult situations in our lives to offer us an opportunity to stop and take a good look around and within. Generally, in those moments, it’s much easier to become self-focused; worrying only about what we are going through and ways to overcome it. But the more I listen to God’s Word in my life, the clearer it becomes that, that is not how He intends for us (believers) to respond.
Over the last week or so, I have had the unfortunate experience of having multiple kidney stones. Several of which were too big to pass, leading to a surgical procedure to place a stent in my left ureter. And yes, it IS as painful and uncomfortable as it sounds. Even though I was dealing with pain and the stress of trying to make last minute plans and arrangements because penciling in a surgical procedure wasn’t on my radar, I could see God’s sovereign hand all around me. Even though it was a “last minute” procedure, everything fell right into place. Each nurse and medical professional that I came in contact with seemed to genuinely be happy. They were very kind and accommodating. One of the nurses even liked the snow as much as I do. That might sound odd, but around “these parts” in Kentucky, most people don’t like the snow. But there is a small niche of us crazies that actually pray for it. We had a good laugh about it as they wheeled me down to the operating room. What better way to get someone prepared for what can be a terrifying situation? I drifted off to sleep with a smile on my face and laughter still lingering in my heart.
As I woke up in recovery, I can remember opening my eyes, and the first thing I could hear the staff discussing was the opportunities for foster care and adoption. Again, I instantly began smiling. My husband and I have recently started the process of fostering, and it was as if God was using that moment to give me confirmation. Still being a bit groggy from the anesthesia, I’m not at all positive what I said, but I do know that I interjected myself into the conversation. They smiled and happily allowed me to join in. Possibly just for entertainment purposes, nevertheless, it was very kind of them.
Once I had spent the necessary amount of time in recovery, they wheeled me up to my room where my parents were waiting for me. At that moment, my new nurse walked in. As she was introducing herself and starting to take my vitals, I can remember looking up at her and wondering why she looked sad. She was never rude or cross in any way, but my mother and I could tell something just wasn’t right. She seemed very busy and was struggling to juggle everything. It also appeared as though she might not mesh very well with the other staff members. It was apparent that she was the outcast and the sadness was from being lonely. She was always surrounded by people but still felt alone.
I went out of my way to smile and talk to her. I told her what a good job she was doing and to take her time. I told her to go finish up whatever it was that she needed to and not to worry about me. I wasn’t going anywhere. She cracked the first smile I had seen from her and sighed a breath of relief. As she would walk in and out of my room, bringing me things to sign or asking me questions, it appeared that she walked a little taller and was even beginning to laugh a little. She thanked my mother and me for our patience and instantly tried to make us understand why she was struggling. We again encouraged her and let her know that she has a tough job and is doing the best she can, and that’s all that matters.
God blessed me with so many compassionate people as I was going through that procedure. Maybe He sent my mom and me there to be a blessing to that nurse. All I know is when we left, and she wheeled me out to the truck, she hugged me and had a smile on her face. Even if that smile only lasted a few minutes, I am thankful that God chose to use my situation to put it there.
Could I have been inpatient because I was in pain and wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible? Yep. Could we have treated her like everyone else had been treating her, perpetuating her misery just because we were too worried about ourselves to notice? Yep. Do people do that to her, and others, EVERY single day because we live in a society that is so consumed with self that we aren’t even able to see the pain and heartache of those around us? YEP!
We often ask how things have gotten this bad or why everything and everyone seems broken. We live in a world that simply doesn’t show or receive enough kindness.
We go about our days with our headphones in, and instead of being aware of those around us, we often choose to exist in our own little world. Sometimes we’re just not conscious of our surroundings, but often we are entirely aware but make the conscious decision to stay introverted and ignore the fact that there are people besides ourselves on this planet.
People who are hurting. People who may be doing just fine. People who may need a kind gesture or smile.
Despite the needs of others, we often choose to be stingy with our acts. Why are we acting as though kindness is costing us time or money?
So, to sum up these ramblings… compliment someone’s shoes if they stand out to you. Share your umbrella with the person without one. Strike up a quick, cheerful conversation with the cashier who probably feels invisible a good part of time unless someone is irritated. Reach out to those in need. It may not seem like much, but these little compliments, gestures, and conversations could go a long way in making someone’s day and changing the world. Who else is going to do it? BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THIS WORLD!
”Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32
“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Colossians 3:12