Monday, March 05, 2012

Hosptials and Me

This week I’ve been at a different hospital each day visiting folks. Here are some hospital observations and memories:

I like hospitals with clergy parking. Kansas City’s Children’s Hospital has the best clergy parking. If it was any closer to the hospital, it would be in the operating room.

In Michigan, several hospitals have fast food franchises located inside the hospital. I’ve eaten at Wendy’s, Mr. Pita, Schlotzsky’s Deli and Little Caesars― all while never leaving the hospital. I am not sure, but I think those hospitals’ cath labs get a percentage of the profits from the fast food joints.

I know a couple of people who like the food at Shawnee Mission Medical Center so much that they will go there for lunch—even when they don’t have any family or friends in the hospital. Who needs a Wendy’s if you can have tuna casserole over rice?

I like hospitals with good, free coffee. Shawnee Mission Medical Center has several options with Keurig Coffee makers located throughout the hospital. Hot. Fresh. Nice.

Maternity wards generally have the nicest rooms in the hospital. I’m not exactly sure why that is, but I think it has something to do with the fact that after nine months of pregnancy, morning sickness, swollen ankles, maternity clothes, contractions, and giving birth, new moms deserve to feel like they are a queen at the Grand Plaza Hotel.

I was nearly attacked by a mother goose entering a hospital. It was at Menorah a few years ago—either I got too close to her eggs or one of her relatives honked about the goose liver pate I once consumed.

I was involved in an accident while praying for someone in a hospital carport. At Overland Park Regional Hospital, while I was standing on the outside of a parishioner’s car and praying with the passengers on the inside of the car, a somewhat dazed driver rear ended their car. Jesus said we could move mountains in our prayers—apparently my prayers move Chevy Tahoes.

In a Detroit hospital emergency room, I sat next to a guy handcuffed to his chair. I wasn’t quite sure how to start that conversation. “Hey, I guess this isn’t where you expected to be today…” didn’t seem quite right.

I’ve been stuck in an elevator at a hospital. Thankfully I’ve never been stuck on an escalator in a hospital.

I’ve been mistaken several times for a doctor. Unfortunately, not once in my basketball playing days was I ever mistaken for Dr. J.

One time I had a person visiting the hospital with me, and when the recently operated upon patient decided to show us his new scar (that happens a lot by the way), my guest passed out. Kerplunk!

I’ve seen more body parts, more disgusting fluids, and sniffed more unholy smells while in a hospital than OSHA requirements allow. Chalk this up to –some things they don’t prepare you for in seminary.

Some of the most needed and meaningful times of sharing God’s grace throughout my years of pastoring have taken place in hospitals. Praying, counseling, reading scripture, crying, laughing, hoping, expecting, and leading a few people to Christ—have all happened on hospital visits.

I think Jesus would be at hospitals. Matthew 4:23-24 says, “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about Him spread all over Syria, and people brought to Him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and He healed them.” Seems to me if we want to be like Jesus—we’ll be where sick people are too.

All this to say: I am thankful for the opportunity to serve and I love seeing God’s healing work and loving presence in the midst of the challenging moments of life. And of course―the added bonus when at Shawnee Mission Medical Center—you can get all of that grace, a good cup of coffee, and a tasty lunch too!

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