The Importance of Showing Up

I entered this room, just like I entered the other seven rooms on Monday.  I was making chaplaincy visits to patients fighting cancer.  I’d gotten a late start, so it was after 5:00.

The husband got up from the chair by his wife’s bed, inviting me to sit by her.  He moved his tray of warm food away, saying he’d get back to it later.  Their adult daughters were sitting across the bed from me.

I soon found out that the fight against cancer was over for this lady.  Modern medicine had done all it could.  The cancer was winning.  There was nothing left to try.  She told me she was going home in a few days, and would have hospice care.  She held my hand as we talked.

We talked about our mutual admiration for hospice.  Turns out she had been a fundraiser for hospice before the cancer struck.

We talked about how they were dealing with this turn of events as a family.  They talked about faith, about life well lived, about family, about making every day count, and about how she has been preparing them for this eventuality.  She was at peace, and her family was at peace.

We found that we had mutual friends.  We enjoyed sharing things we knew about them.  It brought us closer.

We laughed.  We all held hands and prayed.  We shed some tears.  And then we talked some more, as if not quite wanting this special time together to end.

It seemed as if they had just been waiting for someone who shared their faith to show up so they could share their hearts.

That’s the point.  Showing up is what we do that’s important.  God does the rest.

  1. Kyle says:

    Wow, powerful post. You’re so very right, too. Showing up, sharing memories and prayer, and just giving of your own time make such a difference to those who are experiencing the sickness, pain and heartache (including the families as much as the patients). I know when my mother-in-law was in the hospital several times before losing her fight with breast cancer, visits like this meant so much to her and to us. God does the rest, but he uses people like you to bring comfort and the knowledge that “someone else cares, too.” Thanks, Jim!

  2. Joanna Young says:

    The simple act of holding someone’s hand can be so powerful. Simple, powerful, kind.

    Bit like this piece of writing. Thanks.

    Joanna Young’s last blog post..When Adjectives are Necessary

  3. Jim Hughes says:

    Kyle and Joanna — Appreciate you guys coming by and commenting! Your comments enrich the post.

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