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Make a Difference

Recently I was asked to visit a family at Norton Hospital whose loved one had just died. When I entered the room, I noticed the patient’s wife sitting next to him holding his hand while his brother sat in a chair next to the bed.

After introductions and some prayer, I stayed and visited with the family as they shared stories about the patient’s life. It was a beautiful time of getting to know the man and celebrating his life with his family, even though it was in this very limited manner.

After 30 minutes of sharing, the wife turned to me and suddenly said, “You know, although the nurses and doctors were the ones who cared for my husband and were the ones we spent the most time with, the people who made the most difference for us were the ones who cleaned the rooms.”

That remark was so unexpected, I asked her to tell me more. She did:

“There’s something intimate about people who come in and clean the room. They are so quiet and respectful. They are so careful with all of our personal items. I think they knew my husband was very ill. And they knew the rooms were like a second home and they treated it that way. When we moved from this unit to another unit and then back, some of the people who cleaned our rooms over there would see me and ask about my husband. It was so sweet, so comforting, so special. We’re not a large family and so they became like family. At least to me they were. Somebody cared about us. Someone took the time to notice my sadness or my worry. Do you understand? We mattered to someone. I know that people maybe don’t think much of others who do the dirty work, here or anywhere else. But they were our angels. They really were. I’m grateful to them for taking time to ask about us and making us feel that we mattered.”

Her words moved me and made me aware of how all of us can be instruments of God’s healing presence when we simply allow God to move through us during the course of our day. I have been more aware of how God takes our availability and not necessarily our abilities in providing moments of unexpected grace to those in great need.

This week, I encourage all of us to be available to grace and to use our natural compassionate selves to communicate to others that they matter.

Send questions or comments about this devotion to adam.ruiz@nortonhealthcare.org.

– Adam U. Ruiz, D.Min., Staff Chaplain, Norton Hospital and Norton Women’s and Children’s Hospital


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