(Note: The characters in this series are fictional, but their experiences are based on true life stories.)
"Oh my God!" Muriel shouted as she walked across the emergency ward to her eight-year-old son Mark . "My baby!" she said, leaning over the bed to kiss him and stroke his hair. "Are you okay? What happened?"
Mark looked a bit bruised and scratched on his face, but the big injuries were his leg and arm. Mark was hit broadside by a car while riding his bike. The nurse said that he was lucky he’d been wearing a helmet, but it would be a while before he could walk.
While Muriel was plying the nurse with questions about Mark’s condition, Pastor Mike, the minister from the church, came in. "Hi, Muriel. Hi, Mark," he said, shaking Muriel’s hand and giving a pat to Mark’s hand. "Helen called the church to let me know what just happened. You must be quite shaken." He listened while Muriel and Mark tried to reconstruct what happened. He offered some words of encouragement and a prayer before he left.
Later, when Mark was in surgery for his leg, and Muriel was pacing back and forth, waiting for the procedure to be finished, Helen and Joyce from the church both came in. "Here, we brought you some coffee in this thermos and a sandwich and a small salad." They handed her a basket with the food, and steered her to a set of chairs. She didn’t realize just how hungry and fatigued she was until she sat down to eat. As she shared what she knew about Mark’s condition, she felt herself calming down. Helen and Joyce knew that it often helps to share the worry with someone else.
For the next few weeks, Helen and Joyce acted as Muriel’s surrogate family, offering to do what they could to lighten her load until Mark could get around a little better. Joyce’s husband Bill put in a wooden ramp so Mark could get into the back yard with his wheelchair. At the church, Mark was regularly included in the Sunday prayers. The kids in the Sunday school made a big get well card for him which they all signed.
One day, Pastor Mike phoned Muriel to ask how Mark was progressing and how she was doing. Muriel said to him, "Pastor Mike, when I moved to Nanaimo, I didn’t know very many people and the few I knew, I just didn’t connect with on a social level. My family is all back in Saskatchewan. I don’t know how I would have gotten through the last few weeks without the people I’ve met through the church. Thank you. Could you put a thank-you announcement in the Sunday bulletin for all the care and support we’ve gotten?"
"Of course we can," said Pastor Mike. "I’m glad to hear that people have been putting their beliefs into practice."
Material prepared by Rev. Curtis Aguirre, pastor of Hope Lutheran Church, Nanaimo, B.C. and provided courtesy of Canada Lutheran.