“Being loved is the most wonderful thing in the world!” I overheard my 97-year-old grandmother say to her younger sister on the phone today. “Granny,” as I fondly call her, was responding to her sister’s expression of love before they hung up the phone, and I couldn’t help but marvel at the simple wisdom of the words coming from someone nearly a century old—someone who has experienced the gamut of life.
From birth to death and everything in between, when all else is stripped away, it is ultimately love that impacts lives.
There are few places where I imagine love can serve a greater purpose than in a hospital, especially an ER! I see this first hand because I recently got a job as a nurse’s assistant in our local ER. This is sort of a career addition for me. I have no intentions of giving up writing, but only to add to my opportunity to serve mankind and to be in touch with humanity in a greater way than sitting in front of a computer all day at home affords me.
Yesterday, a woman was brought into the ER from the county jail. If there was ever a woman in need of some L-O-V-E, it was this woman. From many obvious signs, you could tell she’s had a hard life. Top it off, she’d been brutalized by another inmate, and her face resembled a bloody punching bag. From the time she was escorted in by the deputy, wearing an orange suit and handcuffs, she sobbed into a towel with such brokenness, my heart went out to her. Immediately I sensed an opportunity to be Jesus to one of the least of these.
After bringing her a warm blanket, I put my hand on her shoulder and talked soothingly to her. It seemed to make her cry even harder, but I knew that’s exactly what she needed. How long had it been since she had received a kind word? A loving, soothing touch? I wondered about her life, and what had brought her to this place. What was her life like as a little girl? Perhaps she was abused or neglected, facing a life of insecurity and disappointment from those who were supposed to love her and protect her. I mean, isn’t that ultimately how we are shaped—by our childhood experiences? We make so many judgments about people, but can we say we’d be any different had we grown up in their shoes? I ached to bring her some comfort and reassurance. I stroked her hair away from her face, and continued to speak in a loving tone to her. She continued to sob, but I did notice that she relaxed a bit into the moment.
All this time, she never once looked at me, but kept her eyes shut tight, the tears squeezing out in a steady stream. But somehow in my heart, I know she will never forget that moment when someone reached out and loved her. I know that at least for one, I made a difference. And I truly believe, that act of love (and my prayers) will bear fruit somewhere in this woman’s life. How do I know? Because I believe 1 Corinthians 13:8:
Love NEVER fails…
Do you have a story of extravagant love? Perhaps someone showed you love at an impressionable time, or you were able to love someone in an unexpected and memorable way. I’d love to hear about it!