This is your family

My four days in the hospital taught me quite a lot about being laid up. My attitude toward visiting people in the hospital had always been one that ranged from wondering if I should go, to downright reluctance. I’d consider going, and then wonder if a visit from me would be welcome, if the person recuperating from whatever would rather be left to heal in peace without people popping in all the time.

I’ve revised that view entirely, if I can base my new attitude about hospital visiting on my gratitude that so many people, particularly from my cathedral family, took the time to stop by. I was always glad to see them, and by the second day of my stay, they made up quite a parade, and sometimes even a crowd (I think there were six or so friends there at one particular time.) The meds I had to take kept me from reading very long, and junk TV bored me, but when a friend came by, I was alert and happy and hoping they could stay a while.

The other thing I learned is that you have to let people know where you are and what has happened to you. On day two in the hospital, I managed to send out an e-mail to alert everyone I knew about my accident. My sisters in Ohio, friends all over the US and Italy, as well as other friends nearby found out that I’d been struck by a car and was in for some hard-time healing. The response was deeply moving for me. Along with the visits I’ve already mentioned came e-mails, texts, and cards. Flowers arrived, and gifts.

And the point is, none of that would have happened if I hadn’t put out the word.

So if you find yourself in a similar situation, and God forbid that you do, don’t be afraid to let your family know. Give them the chance to be generous to you. They really want to do that, to show you how much they care about your getting better. They will offer help for whatever you need; shopping, or drug store runs, or anything else that you can’t do on your own. And they will be grateful for the opportunity to be your family. Don’t deny them that opportunity; tell them what you need and accept their gifts with grace and gratitude. You can be the fountain for their being a blessing to you.

My own independent demeanor had always led me to believe that, no matter what, I wouldn’t rely on others if I could help it. That isn’t independence. It’s stupidity, selfishness, and false pride. My cathedral family has, by their caring and love, convinced me that to be a part of that family, I have to participate in it, and in this instance, that meant inviting them to share their love with me.
My healing continues and I firmly believe that it has gone so well because of that love and the continued prayers in my behalf. For that and for you, I am more grateful than I can describe.

Robert Heylmun

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