Last week, in part one of this blog, I gave some examples of how God uses the Christmas season to bring out niceness in people, and in so doing, provides signs of hope. I closed by saying “But there’s more . It gets even better.” I said I would tell you about it next week (meaning the blog you are reading right now).
What I mean by “there’s more” is that God is always bringing about niceness in people all the time – all year long. Not just during the Christmas season or any other special occasion. For much of my life I didn’t expect people to be nice most of the time. The Christmas season was an exception, so I thought. However, now I know better.
Here’s how my enlightenment came about. As I mentioned last week, my wife, Joan has some significant physical disabilities. This requires that from time to time she has to go through a series of physical therapy sessions. Over the past two years these sessions have taken place at the Marlton Rehabilitation Hospital – Outpatient Department – in Marlton, NJ.
The people who work at this facility are always nice. I mean always. I’d like to introduce you to those Joan and I have come to know. To start with, there’s Tenesha, who is always helpful in setting up and sometimes changing appointments. Then there are the therapists. When Joan was going through this about two years ago her therapist was Valerie, who has since moved out of the area and just started working at a similar facility near her new home. We are sure she is already showing love and giving hope to her patients there. More recently Joan’s therapist was Darcie. But sometimes some of the others work with Joan. Their names are Nancy, Waba, Linda, and Dwight. There are others, but we haven’t gotten to know them all.
What I have observed about all of these folks is that they are always willing and able to help each other with their patients. I have never heard one negative word or comment from anyone. And they don’t just lead patients through their exercises. They encourage, support, and inspire them to be as good as they can be, given the realities of their disabilities. And this loving and hopeful attitude is passed on to the patients, who in turn care about and for each other. This is the atmosphere that Joan and I have experienced every time we have entered that facility, anytime of year, all the time.
Every Sunday, as a pastor, I led the congregaqtion in praying the Lord’s Prayer, which includes the line “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven”. I recited this prayer, as I suspect most church goers do, out of habit, rarely giving much thought to what I was praying for. But now I know what I’m praying for. Because at Marlton Rehab I have seen and even experienced heaven on earth. Through the people I have mentioned God is answering that prayer. God was reminding and reassuring me that He is always in the process of moving people toward participating with Him in sharing His love with and providing hope for others.
People receiving and sharing God’s love and hope with each other. I believe that’s what life is supposed to be about. Through the people at Marlton Rehab, that’s what life is in fact about – all the time.
As we enter a new year, I invite you to join me in expecting to find not just “niceness”, but sincere love and hope – all year long. Good news in the midst of the bad news we will undoubtedly hear.
Thanks for your attention. We look forward to hearing your comments about our web-site. We also invite you to send us stories of your experiences and observations of present hopes and hope fulfilled, so we can spread them around the world via this web-site. This is one way we can all join together to help keep hope alive.