“I’m a sports agent and I take young semi-pro baseball players to the Children’s Hospital to visit with the kids. They sign some jerseys and talk with the kids. It really lifts their spirits. It’s important for them to understand what it is to “give back” before they get too famous. Me? I drop the players off at the door and then I go sit in the cafeteria until they’re done. I can’t stand to see those kids without any hair, with an arm missing, or just in pain. It’s not for me.”
In College, my golf coach volunteered us to answer phones at the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon. We were quite the celebrities; I was pleased with myself for doing a charitable act, and “giving of myself.” But I’d turned down Coach’s invitation to go visit at the Oklahoma City Children’s Hospital that year; after all, I needed to study. Looking back, I couldn’t stand to see those kids suffer either.
It was 2006; I was diagnosed with cancer and realized how difficult it is when a friend is diagnosed with cancer. What are they supposed to say to me? What if I lose all my hair, or am too sick to get out of bed from the chemo? I guess they couldn’t stand to see me suffer either.
It was two years later in 2008 when I heard Rev. Leigh Spruill say: “The mark of a mature Christian is when you can knock on the door of the dying, and you aren’t afraid to go in.”
“Hey! Wait! I want to be a mature Christian!” But could I set my comfort aside and really serve others?
Over the past 4 years, I’ve found an incredible JOY in loving those who are undergoing difficult trials of physical and emotional pain. It is what Jesus taught us: to stop being self-centered and to love each other “through it”. I am reminded of a hymn from my youth, The Servant Song by Richard Gillard. I’ve already included it in my funeral plans and if I re-marry, I’ll sing it at my wedding, too. As Christians we’re here to serve one another, “till we’ve seen this journey through.”
“I will weep when you are weeping
When you laugh I'll laugh with you
I will share your joy and sorrow
Till we've seen this journey through”
Caring enough to listen and help someone through difficult times may be the hardest thing we are asked to do as Christians.
Here’s a video of The Servant Song with clips from The Lord of the Rings.
It reminds us of the joy of serving Christ by caring for the needs of others.
Your Sister in Christ,