Go to Visit? Be Kind!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Saturday, June 21, 2014

BK make someone happy

Go to Visit? Be Kind!

Sure, I put on my Mom-hat and went to pick up my son this evening. He was staying at his good friend’s house on the other side of town. And because it’s Saturday night, my son asked if he might pop in to a potluck dinner near our house, and stay for a few hours. Being the nice mom that I am, I said yes.

But before we left his good friend’s house, I checked in with the friend’s mother. And with the friend.

Let me back up. His friend—also a teenager—got a serious physical condition that developed very rapidly. In less than a week. Many people were very much concerned, and he went to several doctors. Eventually several specialists. He had a hospital stay, and was finally released.

So, of course I checked with his mother when I arrived tonight. At first I asked how her son was doing, and then I inquired about her. I saw that she looked worn with worry, and I mentioned that. (In a softer, nicer way, I hope.) She was appreciative, believe me.

As I waited for my son to get on his shoes and get ready to leave, I took the opportunity to visit his friend. He was looking much better! I told him so, and asked some follow-up chaplainly questions. You know, about his continuing care, the medical staff’s recommendations, and possible next steps. He and I had a brief but good conversation.

When I came upstairs from the basement, I had another chance to talk with the friend’s mother. I listened to some things that had been suggested by the medical staff. Plus, I urged her to rest and take care of herself. I also tried to be as much of a friend and a good listener as I could. (I petted and rubbed their dog, too. He was so happy to see me, and wagged his tail so much! Good dog!)

The only thing I wish I could have remembered is an excellent piece of advice that I have dispensed a number of times! It’s a prudent idea for caregivers and loved one of seriously ill patients to rest and keep their strength up. If the caregiver gets worn down, the ill patient has an even more difficult time maintaining health and wellness.

However, I am glad I had the opportunity to visit at my son’s friend’s house. I continue to pray for him, his mother, and for his improving condition. May God bless him and his family!

@chaplaineliza

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Being Kind, Crossing International Borders

A Year of Being Kind blog – Saturday, January 11, 2014

"Walking with Friends," by Carolee Clark

“Walking with Friends,” by Carolee Clark

Being Kind, Crossing International Borders

Earlier today, I happened to stop on the stairs. I had an unexpected encounter with someone from another country, and I hope I was of service.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ll give a little background, and set up the story. As is my habit during the week, I went to the gym to do some stretching and cardio exercise. I had finished a good workout, and started down to the women’s locker room. Halfway down the stairs, I saw a young woman holding an open pamphlet, obviously reading intently. She looked puzzled, and frowned at the piece of paper. I slowed down, since she caught my attention. She glanced up. We smiled at each other. And that’s all it took for her to engage me in conversation.

As it turned out, she held a pamphlet that listed information about GED classes. She trustingly started pouring out her story in accented but fairly good English. She wanted to take a GED course. And then, get her GED to be more prepared to get jobs here in the Chicago area. I encouraged her, and took a look at the pamphlet with her. “Yes,” I said. “The GED class you want is at the high school, on Tuesday night.” She told me about studying English in high school, in her country of origin in South America. Again I smiled and was encouraging. “You speak English really well for taking only a couple of years of classes. I wish I could speak another language as well.” She beamed and nodded her head in gratitude for my words. She was very hesitant about English grammar, it turned out. Plus, she also was enrolled in citizenship classes. I was quite supportive. “That’s great! I wish you the best in both of your classes. God’s blessings in this new year, too.” She smiled even more widely. She wanted to know my name. Elizabeth, I told her. She readily gave me her name. I think I made a new friend!

This is not an isolated incident. I guess I have that kind of appearance that makes me approachable. People come up to me on the street, or when I’m stopped at a stop light. They’ll roll down their window and tell me they’re lost. And, ask directions. Or when I’m standing in line at a grocery store they’ll engage me in conversation. Tell me about personal details of their lives. Believe me, it happens! (My family is endlessly amused, and say that I have that kind of face. Or chaplainly air. Or something.)

In preparation for this year of service, I’ve prayed specifically to be open and willing, each day. As subtext to my month’s service, for January, the verse I have chosen is Ephesians 4:32. “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.” I think I was kind to this sweet young woman. She and I made a genuine connection. And—I pray that I was of service.

@chaplaineliza