As the door to the hospital elevator slid open, we saw her leaning against the cold steel wall. She managed a smile as we stepped inside, my husband and I. We made small talk on the short ride down. We noticed that she was leaving later than the rest of the nursing shift, and the lines on her face showed the outline of a tightly worn mask.
“You’re leaving late,” my husband said.
“Yes. Been a long day,” she sighed as she spoke.
“What floor do you work on?” he asked.
Her response let us know it was a COVID floor without saying as much. You have to be careful in hospitals these days; you can’t give too much information away.
After thanking her for her hard work, we all exited the elevator, headed, we thought, in the same direction. As we approached the lobby, we saw her stop in the dimly-lit chapel.
Exhausted, spent, emptied, she sought the only One who could offer her hope. She didn’t stay for long. In fact, by the time we reached the doors at the end of the long hospital hallway, I saw that she had turned to leave the chapel. Then it struck me that, as tired as she was, as late as it was, she had gone out of her way to make it to the chapel to pray.
I don’t know where you come in on the whole COVID thing. It really doesn’t matter. What is undeniable is that every day we have people involved in the health of the citizens of this nation, and world, who are offering up every last bit of strength they can muster to care for us. For you, for me. For our families, neighbors, and friends. Just like the first responders who worked endless hours at Ground Zero, real life heroes are, right now, pushing themselves to the limit in order to fulfill the calling on their lives. They, simply put, want to help others.
Like the firefighters and police who ran back in to the World Trade Center, the health care workers are risking their lives every single day. They are masked, gowned, gloved, and wearing goggles and shields to try to stay healthy so they can minister to the rest of us.
John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
How are we treating these heroes who are willing to lay their lives down for us? Are we pausing to remember them in prayer? Are we evaluating whether we know anyone who works in this industry to offer to help with a meal or take on a chore for them? Have we even thanked them for their sacrifice?
Because a loved-one was recently ill with a very contagious virus, I spent several days having to wear some of the same protective gowns and gloves that the medical staff wears. Let me tell you something: that stuff is hot. It’s bulky and it’s uncomfortable and it’s difficult to move in. It’s no different for the caregivers than it is for us. The days are long and it makes work hard. Day after day.
As we left the hospital that night, I felt so much compassion for that nurse. I thought about her family and I hoped they were supportive and kind. I prayed that she would stay safe and healthy. And I thanked God that His Son was willing to lay down His life for me—and you. Won’t you now consider pausing to reflect on His goodness and ask the Father to bless these everyday heroes?