Stewardship of Giving and Receiving Support
Like many folks in my “golden” age bracket, I’ve been in the hospital and its operating rooms several times. Each journey has presented opportunities to offer stewardship of support and to receive stewardship of support from others. I thank God for both gifts.
A couple of days after my first operation, one of the attending doctors came in early and said I was ready to go home. The head doctor came in a little later and said (I fervently believe God spoke to him) I was to stay another day. That evening a younger woman who had undergone a radical operation was brought to the other bed in my room. She was miserable with a terrible itch. The nurses did all they could for her, but nothing had eased her pain. When the last nurse stepped out, I asked my new roommate if she would like for me to read to her. She asked if I had a Bible. What I had was my Prayer Book, so I turned to the Psalms and began to read a number of my favorites. I’m not sure when she fell asleep, but after several hours, she stated to me, “God’s word brought me peace medicine couldn’t.”
Another time, everyone in the recovery room was held longer than usual because an emergency somewhere in the surgical department had backed everything up. During that extra time period, I discovered the woman in the bed next to me was an inmate from Fluvanna Women’s Prison, where I had done volunteer work for years. For that while, I was afforded the privilege to do what the two officers at the foot of her bed could not, by restraints of their jobs. Even though I could not tell her my name, I could offer her comfort and talk to her about my wonderful Kairos experiences at her “home.”
Often, it’s hard for “old coots” like me to ask for supportive help. Recently, St. James clergy guided me to take the action of declaring what help I needed for some medical treatments. St. James family members said, “Thank you for letting me know how I can help.” They accompanied me to places out of their comfort zone. They assisted and entertained my out of state sister and brother-in-law. They spent nights in my home, flushed my pick line, put on “space suits” to visit me, and prayed for me without ceasing. I assert there is power and strength, guided by the Holy Spirit, in these acts of stewardship of support.
~ Patty Driskill, church member, senior warden