Thursday, March 31, 2016

Amazing People

Medical Professionals are AMAZING People!

Especially those who remember that hospitals can be intimidating places for the rest of us.

This morning started at 5:30 for us as we drove to Shriner's Children's Hospital in Tampa.  Zach (John and Joy's baby) was to have the first of two surgeries to correct a genetic problem.

We've experienced this with Spencer and Abby, too.  But the anxiety is fresh and reaches deep into our hearts each time.

How do you explain to an eight month old that the masked faces, loud noises and needle sticks are necessary?  How do you convince him that the pain has purpose?  How do you keep yourself from crying when their little eyes are wide with fear and filled with real tears?

Hospitals are intimidating places!  Even for those of us who walk the halls on a regular basis for ministry purposes.  When it's your own little one, when your family wears the "patient badge," you become the one reaching for comfort.

Thankfully, Zachariah Avery came through the surgery well.  He rolled out of recovery with a cast protecting his left foot and extending up to his chubby thigh.  The post-op team couldn't evaluate the color of his toes properly.  So, a loud saw had to be used to remove an edge of the neon green cast material.

Joy (fierce little mamma that she is) walks and bounces her weeping child.  Comforting him with the voice he's known since conception.  Her shushing offers him the only peace he can absorb right now.

She slept two brief hours last night; but her confident steps don't tell of her exhaustion.  Adrenaline can serve a purpose when necessary.  

John takes a turn and speaks lovingly to his son; cheering him on in the first battle of his young life. We hear a modified version of "Jesus Loves Me" coming from a piano in the playroom.  John is playing with one hand while cradling Zach with the other.

We live in a broken, imperfect world.  And we all experience things that make no sense.  Unfair things.  Painful things.

But even in these moments, there are rays of light to be found - if we look.

Grace, the lovely Haitian nurse, greeted us first with a big smile and a friendly, "Hello!  I remember you from the last time you were here."  That was well over a year ago.  Her kindness felt like a warm blanket.

Stephanie and Jennifer came into the room with peace and confidence.  Too bubbly, and they would have seemed insincere.  They're both young ladies and left sweet babies of their own at home.  They freely express their empathy for Joy and John.

These people are professionals. They know the fine line between comfort and annoyance.  The nurses here carefully watch our faces and take their cues.  Amazing!

We'll leave as soon as Zach is cleared.  Everyone knows you rest better in your own environment.  Zach will quickly learn to navigate in spite of the cumbersome cast on his leg.   This will be a life moment remembered more clearly by the adults than by the baby.

Grace, Stephanie, Jennifer, the anesthesiologist, the surgeon...........the team is large.  A rare breed of people.  They each stop by to comfort, instruct, console, or just exclaim over Zachariah's dimples and engaging smile.

They deal with frightened children and parents every day. Some, suffering with life-threatening illness.  It's easy to see that our family is receiving the same steady treatment they shower on everyone.

Most, at this hospital, are volunteers!

I'm not sure how Shriner's Hospital manages all they do.  But this is one grateful Noni singing the praises of their professionals and their facilities!

Truly Amazing People!


Friday, March 11, 2016

This 'N That

I have a rather eclectic post for you today.  Funny Story.  Great Reminder.  Cute Poem.

So first, the Funny Story......

Last week I was helping Abby in the bathroom.  She hopped up onto the potty and sat looking at me thoughtfully.  Her massive blue eyes gazed intently through the lovely pink princess glasses she wears.  I smiled when I sensed that a question was forming.

"Noni,"  wait for it... "Why iz youh heyre wet?"  (The word "wet" was the most clear and held added emphasis.)

I glanced into the mirror and swiped at my dry but windblown tresses.  True, it was rather messy.  But I honestly thought it looked ok.

"Well," I launched into my explanation only to be cut short by the three year old.  "Noni has been in the wind and I guess that makes my hair look wet.  But it's dry, I......"

"No, Noni!"  Her impatience was evident.  "Why iz youh heyre WED?"

I burst out laughing.  Meagan had just colored my hair the day before and it had a little more red tint than normal.  (Maybe a LOT more red tint than normal.)

"Because, Precious.  Aunt Meme colored it for me yesterday."

"Oh!  I frew."  (Which being interpreted meant.  "Well, I don't like it that color but Mom has already taught me to just say Oh.  And now I'm through with the potty so let's get on with it.")  These babies!

Next the Great Reminder.......

Frank has been my pastor for about 35 years now.  Which means I've heard him preach well over 20,000 sermons!  That's not taking into account the many Bible studies and devotionals and funeral/wedding sermons.  Wow!  That's a lot of theology expressing!

But he does a great job and still holds my attention after all these years.

Last week was a prime example of his careful attempts to help people understand and retain the main point.

When we came into the sanctuary, we discovered a table that had been positioned on stage.  It was draped with a black tablecloth and held some large, ominous-looking object; also draped with a black cloth.

At the appointed time in his sermon, Frank sauntered over to the table all the while talking about the importance of connection.   (That's the focus of our church for the month of March.)

He casually removed the top cloth to reveal a huge green industrial fan.

He talked about all the wonderful things a fan of that sort can accomplish.  Drying wet carpet.  Driving out bad odors.  Cooling a large area.  The inventor of the fan created it for those specific purposes.

At that point, Frank took a pen from his pocket and demonstrated that he had the ability to twirl the blades of the fan.  Standing directly in front of it, you could feel a little breeze but certainly not the powerful wind it was designed to create. And Frank's arm tired quickly trying to imitate the work the fan was supposed to do.

Then, he plugged the fan into the nearby electrical outlet.......and it roared to life!  The people sitting on those first few rows got a real taste of how effective the fan could be.

Frank switched it off and made this comparison.

We are all designed to accomplish great things.  But we can't do it on our own; we must be connected to our Power Source.  When we start getting tired with our Christian service, it's time to check and see if we're working under our own ability again.  Taking time to re-connect with the Source of Life (Christ Jesus) will help us roar to life once more.

Now you know why I'm still not bored with his preaching.

Finally, the Cute Poem........

 This Sunday will be my turn to bring the message; about Connection.  Only my sermon will be about connecting with those around us.

While preparing, I was reminded of a great poem I frequently saw when visiting my dear Asheville friend, Judy.  The poem was on a small plaque that graced her kitchen for all the years I was around.  It goes like this:

The wise old owl sat in the oak.
The more he saw, the less he spoke.
The less he spoke, the more he heard.
Why aren't we all like this wise old bird? 

May your weekend be blessed with laughter and healthy connectedness!