I was out with our HCBS director yesterday doing some marketing for our HCBS and our facility. We were at a local retirement community in our area hosting a Christmas lunch.
As I scanned the crowd, I saw a tall, somewhat younger, gentleman in the back of the room. He was smiling at me. I made my way to him to find that he was a local home builder, that in my earlier job as a lumber salesman, I had waited on for years. His body was frail and his hair mostly gone, but his smile was the same.
I sat down with “Earl” and quickly found that our conversation would be extensive. He shared how he had lost everything he had worldly; his home, his cars and even his business due to illness. Even his wife had left him due to the emotional and physical overloads. But, he never stopped smiling.
There was a “glow” to him. I really can’t explain. I could see where the illness had damaged him physically. His hair was mostly gone, he stumbled when he stood, and his body was contorted due to the illness progressing. But he had a “brightness” to him. His shirt was starched perfectly. His pants were perfectly clean and I had never seen shoe laces tied so perfectly. His eyes glistened as he spoke.
I was blessed to be able to walk him back to his apartment after the meal. He said as we slowly made our way to his place, “don’t ever forget that whatever happens, God remains by your side”. As we stopped to look at a pile of building materials the complex had purchased for a new roof, he said “You don’t know how much I wish I could work everyday. So many people complain about their jobs, but I wish I could go to work, as I once did”.
I left Earl sitting in his recliner and placed his “to go” plate in the refrigerator. I opened the door and said “I will see you again soon Earl”. His reply “I can’t wait”.
This day will stand out in my mind for a long time. Sometimes we forget what God really does. How He heals wounds, how He fixes our brokeness. But also how He sends us a glimmer of His love through those that we serve. Thank you God and thank you Earl for allowing me to see the healing that comes from above.
Steve McKinney, Chaplain
Signature Healthcare of Rogersville