Miracle Moments

GOT OFF LATE ONE EVENING FROM WORK. I had attempted to get gas before going in, but circumstances just didn’t allow it. I simply had to fillup before making the 20-mile trip home in the dark of night—that is, if I wanted to get home that evening. My parents had often cautioned me to come straight home; therefore I was in a hurry so as not to alarm them. Making this detour for gas put me on a different route home.

As I traveled through town, I glanced in my rear-view mirror, and the local hospital loomed in sight. Then, just as clear as the rear-view image, a voice told me to go in to the hospital and take the elevator to the top floor. I was in a hurry to get home, so I ignored the voice. As I turned the corner, I began to feel bad for not obeying. So I said to myself, “If I see a sign leading me back, then I’ll go.” Sure enough, as I traveled about two more blocks, I saw the blue and white hospital sign with an arrow pointing me in the direction I was told to go. Although it went against everything I knew to be the right thing that night, I made the turn and headed back.

I didn’t know anyone in the hospital; it was late and visiting hours were over. I assumed I would enter, and someone would simply ask me to leave (that hope was in the back of my mind). I would have obeyed the voice in my head, and then I could go home. Hopefully, my parents would be asleep in case I was a few minutes late.

As I entered the lobby, no one was around. I went to the elevator, entered and pushed the button for the top floor. On the ride up, I expected the elevator doors to open at any time and that someone would ask me what I was doing there so late, after visiting hours were over. The doors finally opened at the top floor, no stops in between. I found myself on the rehab unit.

I walked up and down the deserted halls for what seemed like hours. I could see the nurses’ station, but none of the staff even looked up. I coughed a few times and cleared my throat in an effort to get someone’s attention. Nothing worked. As I glanced into the rooms for a clue, I prayed, “God, you sent me here…now what?” Room after room, hall after hall, everyone was asleep. Finally, I looked into a room where an old gentleman was sitting up in the bed. He was watching a Christian broadcast on TV. I stood at the door of the room and he stared at me. I stared back. After a few strained minutes, he asked me, “Can I help you?” I answered, “No…but would you mind if I came in?” He shrugged, and looked surprised as I entered his room. I sat down on the side of the bed and began talking with him. I found out quickly that he was nearly deaf, and I had to speak really loudly for him to hear me. I knew for sure someone would hear me in that dark, quiet hospital.

When I asked him how he was feeling, he said, “Not too good. I haven’t been able to use the bed pan for several days now.” I continued to wonder why God brought me here. I kept thinking how upset my parents were going to be that I arrived home late. The patient and I talked about five minutes more when I finally asked if I could pray for him. At that point, I took his hand and offered a simple prayer, asking God to watch over him and to take care of him.

As I finished and opened my eyes, it was evident the man didn’t hear me say amen, so I said it again, louder this time. He said amen too. As I leaned over and lightly kissed this man whom I had never seen before on the forehead and said goodbye, I noticed tears welling up in his eyes. I hurriedly stepped into the hallway to leave, and as I walked away from the man’s room, I heard him say with a hushed voice, “God, I don’t know who that was. No one ever comes to visit me here. Thank you for sending her. Bless her in a special way.”

Tears began to stream down my face. I stood there a few minutes more, now realizing why I was sent here: to bring hope to someone who thought no one cared. As I reached the nurses’ station area, I heard the man’s voice come over the intercom. “Could someone come help me? I think I need a bedpan.”

I can just imagine this man’s recounting of my visit, when he would perhaps ask the nurses who I was, to which they would answer they never even saw anyone enter his room. He probably insisted to them that he had a visitor. Then maybe he’ll realize he had a visitor intended only for him.

Terrica Hoskison Smith
CHRISTUS St. Joseph’s Health System