So, last Tuesday afternoon, I was on the elevator of the premier hospital (CC) on the North Coast of OH. Two doctors got off on one floor, as a nurse/or doctor (in scrubs with lab coat and I think stethoscope around her neck) got on. I was minding my own business as I usually do on an elevator. You know, not looking or staring at people. I was wearing my plastic clergy ID tag - bought 25 years ago - and use whenever I make a hospital call so that I am clearly identified as clergy. I was holding my oversized purse, and my Bible in hand.
As this woman doctor/nurse exits the elevator on the floor below my stop, she said, "Thank you for all the caring you do."
I was simply stunned. Since it was only the two of us in the elevator (unusual for this huge, busy
hospital) I knew she said it to me as she stepped out of the elevator. I thought maybe she mistook me for a hospital chaplain - but I'm sure they have CC badge and not an outdated general clergy badge.
Here was this medical professional thanking me, someone totally unknown to her, for caring for
the people I visit. I didn't know her. She didn't know me. We, often, don't credit the medical profession with faith and yet, here, this one, obviously knew the value of faith, of healing, of hope.
In this advent season, she gave thanks to one who often doesn't receive thanks.
I was so stunned by the unexpectedness of it all that she was through the elevator doors and on her
way before I even had a chance to respond!
What a gift to give a pastor in this Advent time - to say thank you for caring for all the folks that we do!
What an angel! What grace!
And when it finally sunk in - I was blessed.
Christ comes unexpectedly, when we are not always prepared, surprising us as an infant in a manger and enters our world and lives. And we are blessed beyond measure.
I will hold this gifted moment as a grace and blessing. I pray for this one who had the courage to speak these words to a complete and absolute stranger, on an elevator, and share a gift with another,
who didn't even have a chance to say, "Thank you."
But I did thank God for her.
Who knew that Advent comes in a hospital elevator!