Community service project by BCC youth has lasting impact on hospital
Several months ago, the Spiritual Life team asked youth to create get well cards for patients at hospitals throughout Maryland. The community service project was not about personally knowing the people the cards would go to, but understanding that being kind, even to strangers, is important.
Rev. Stacey Nickerson, BCC’s Director of Church and Community Engagement, received a note back from a hospital chaplain who had received a stack of the cards.
About three weeks ago, I gave away the first card to a gentleman on the behavioral unit. This is for people with emotional and mental illnesses. I’ll call him David. He is in his early 80’s and was very depressed when he came to the hospital. We had some good talks, but he couldn’t see any hope for the future. He has no family, and had a heart attack that left him unable to care for himself. He tried to end his life before coming to the hospital.
When I gave him your card, he looked at it, said “thank you”, and returned it to the envelope. He left the envelope on his tummy, and went back to sleep.
A few days later I saw him again. He still felt hopeless.
Well, yesterday, I read about him on the computer before I went to see him. I was so happy to read that he was feeling better. I went up to the 6th floor to see him for myself. He was still lying in bed, but he actually gave me a small smile. I hadn’t seen him smile before. He said: “it’s too hard to stay negative with about a hundred positive people in here all day long!”
He is being discharged to a nursing home. He thanked me for visiting and encouraging him. Your card was with his belongings that he is taking with him when he leaves. You definitely played a role in his recovery, because you are one of those “hundred” positive people who made it hard for him to stay sad.
So thank you very much for supporting David and showing him God’s love.
On Tuesdays, I lead a spirituality group on this unit. We talk about God together. So next week, I plan to take some of your cards with me, and focus the whole session around giving one of your cards to each member of the group. We have young and older people, men and women, black, white, Asian, Hispanic – everyone. I never know until I arrive who will be there, of course. We will discuss what it means for young people like you to take the time to make these cards, sending a message that says: “we may not know you but it doesn’t mean that we don’t care”. Your cards are a message from God, letting these people know that God still cares about them. It gives them a lot to think about, and makes them smile.
Another week in my group, I plan to have the group members make their own cards for other patients in the hospital, and even for the staff, to say thank you for caring for me! That will make the nurses and doctors feel happy.
I would never have had these two great ideas if you hadn’t made your cards and sent them for me to use. Your cards are truly an inspiration. Even when your cards have all been given away, your idea will stay behind and keep bearing fruit.
This is how love works.
Thank you again for your ministry to these lonely and troubled people.