GOT OFF LATE ONE EVENING FROM WORK. I had attempted to get
gas before going in, but circumstances
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
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
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
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
I didn’t know anyone in the hospital;
it was late and visiting hours were over. I assumed I would
enter, and someone
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
him to hear me. I knew for sure someone would hear me in that dark, quiet
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
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
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
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
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
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.
CHRISTUS St. Joseph’s Health System