80 years old alone and far away from her family, Peggy has been in the VA Hospital in Lexington for about 1 year. Thirteen years earlier she and her husband had moved here from Grand Rapids, Michigan and he had passed away sometime ago.
Currently in the Intensive Care Unit with respiratory failure on ventilator support and also with kidney failure and receiving dialysis she waits to be stable enough to go home near her family. There have been several failed attempts due to different stumbling blocks like infections that have prevented this from happening until now. At last the time has come and she is stable enough to be transported back to Grand Rapids.
We were greeted at the front door of the hospital and escorted up to her room by several staff. As we arrive in her room it was full of more hospital staff waiting to bid her good-bye. They had her all dressed in a purple sweater with her fingernails polished and a pearl bracelet on her wrist. Despite the fact that she was on the ventilator we could tell that she was quite independent.
Once we were loaded and ready to go there were many tears from those who had been caring for her all of this time. You could feel the love that each one had for her as they hugged her and said their good- byes.
After carefully securing her in Nellie we headed to Grand Rapids. It was a rather short flight and we were able to keep her comfortable. She smiled sweetly when we told her she would soon be home.
We arrived at her new facility and were greeted by the staff who welcomed her with smiles and gentle care. After we turned over our care of her to them I told them that we were going to pray over Peggy. The staff were very pleased and said that sounded great to them so as we all laid hands on Peggy I thanked God for safe travel and for her continued care as well as her new caretakers.
Unfortunately I was not able to meet Peggy’s family so I am unable to give much insight into her past. However as I sit here looking back on this mission in search of what else God wants me to share with you I find myself thinking about the staff at the VA hospital that had cared for her over the past year.
This group of people had devoted so much of their time in caring for her. Sure it would have been easy to treat her as a “patient” but it was so much more. She had become like family to them and they to her. Neither had known the other until she was admitted to the hospital. I observed a genuine love for her from the nurses, respiratory therapist, social workers, case manager and others. She needed them in her loneliness and they were there for her. They were showing her hospitality.
ROMANS 12:13 SHARE WITH THE LORD’S PEOPLE WHO ARE IN NEED. PRACTICE HOSPITALITY.
What a great picture of this they were demonstrating.
1 PETER 4:9 OFFER HOSPITALITY TO ONE ANOTHER WITHOUT GRUMBLING
You see Christian hospitality differs from social entertaining. Entertaining focuses on the host–the home is spotless, the host/hostess relaxed, food abundant and well prepared etc…. however hospitality focuses on the “guest” and their needs–a place to stay, something to eat, a listening ear etc…
I ask you, how often do we show hospitality to others? to total strangers? Are we too busy with our daily lives to see those around us who are in need, to simply take a moment to ask “Is there anything I can do for you today?” to inconvenience ourselves for the sake of others? Are we too afraid that someone may actually take us up on the offer and we may have to actually follow through? I can only answer for myself and my answer is “yes many times I fail miserably at this.” Doesn’t this go hand in hand with MATTHEW 22:39b LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.
My challenge for each of us today is to seek out that someone who is in need and let’s practice hospitality.
HEBREWS 13:2 DO NOT FORGET TO SHOW HOSPITALITY TO STRANGERS, FOR BY SO DOING SOME PEOPLE HAVE SHOWN HOSPITALITY TO ANGELS WITHOUT KNOWING IT.
Look at the story of Abraham (Gen. 18:1) and Gideon (Judges 6:11) they were not aware that they were truly entertaining angels.
Let us not miss such opportunities as these because we are too tired, too busy or think we do not have enough money to do so. What a difference each one of us could make in someone’s life today alone.
Thank you to Hal, Mark, Lisa and Kimber for sharing in this mission with me.
Shelli Engle RN