The Little Things Make Hard Times Better

After spending Christmas Eve in the emergency room learning that Danny has kidney stones, we spent the rest of the week at the VA hospital in Iowa City trying to get him some pain relief until the stones can be removed. It’s been a long, difficult week watching my husband suffer with excruciating pain, knowing it will still be several days before he can have surgery.

But even in the midst of pain and suffering, there were still blessings and moments of joy. We had some of the most amazing doctors and nurses taking care of us. I was able to stay in Danny’s room with him, which was the answer to my prayers of not having to be apart. And even having the kidney stone diagnosis was better than the stress of not knowing what was causing his pain.

Something small but special was coming our way, too. During the second day of our hospital stay, an older man knocked on the door and asked if he could come in. He laid a handful of items on Danny’s tray table and said he was a volunteer there at the VA clinic. He showed Danny a lap robe that would keep him warm in the chilly hospital room. A puzzle book and deck of cards would keep his mind occupied and distract him from the pain a little. Then he laid a Christmas card on top and said he would be thinking good thoughts for us while we were staying there.

After he left and I quit crying, Danny and I read the card and cried some more. There were only two sentences in it, but they were hand written and incredibly powerful. Those few words, filled with hope, joy and happiness, were exactly what we needed at that moment. We may never meet Charline, but the few minutes it took for her to write these words of encouragement meant the world to us.

We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Romans 15:1-4

When we are going about our daily lives, our motivation and desire is to be edification, lifting one another up. A woman who chose to volunteer at the hospital decided to encourage us and lift us up when we needed it most. Her hand-written note - a little thing to most people - made our hard times better. It is now our responsibility to pass on our hope, found in the Scriptures, and touch someone else’s life. What better way to start the new year than edifying and encouraging the world around us?

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