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Peace and Joy in the waiting room

Posted Tuesday 9 June 2020

We’ve had a great response from the blog we sent out earlier this week, which encouraged some of you to look afresh for the gold in others, particularly in the healthcare workplace.

Following on from this, we have another excellent testimony from the same member of our team. Once again, her story is set in a healthcare environment, but this time, as a parent, she’s experiencing life on the other side of the healthcare equation.

We hope her story inspires you to look out for opportunities to change the atmosphere, wherever you find yourself, and to be ready and willing to become salt and light in any context.

“My 5 year old had already broken his collar bone, but 48 hours later was in worsening pain from his elbow, so I took him back to A&E, concerned that there was something additional going on.

We went through Triage and X-ray with relative speed, but then entered a packed Minor Injury waiting room, to await the results of the X-ray. It was sweltering, and the room was full of people, including some very bored young children who appeared to be waiting for their siblings to be seen. One such child was was doing dramatic slides up and down the main corridor, using a baby-walker as a skateboard, on several occasions nearly toppling over the older patients. The atmosphere was decidedly tetchy.

After about an hour of waiting, I spoke to a member of staff, and discovered with a sinking feeling that there would be around another three hours of waiting.

I had peace that we would get through and manage, but I was certain that it wasn’t going to be a particularly pleasant day! Then as I was sitting there, I suddenly realised that God had so much more than that to offer this room.

I took my son for some fresh air, and returned via the hospital shop with an armful of children’s magazines. My son and I handed these out to the waiting families, and I deliberately released joy into the room. The young boy who had been sliding up and down ran to his mum and opened his magazine, “Stickers Mummy, it’s got stickers!!!” he shouted in genuine delight.

Five minutes later, some extra nursing staff arrived and all the families with children were called in for their appointments – not only were peace and joy released in the room, but a three hour wait was cut down to 20 minutes. God is so good!!”

What a great example of someone operating as a thermostat rather than a thermometer in a difficult and pressured situation.

Wherever we find ourselves, we all have it in us to be thermostats. The real question is: do we want to reflect the environment or do we want to adjust the environment? Let’s be people who – even in negative places – open the door for God to come into our circumstances and bring change. So often, all it takes is for us to remember to ask for God’s perspective on the situation, and invite him to use us to bring about a shift. This might seem like a daunting prospect, but in this instance, an incredibly simple and practical act of generosity was all it took to trigger change.

We love to hear stories of how you’re encountering God at work, as parents, or at home. Do feel free to share your testimonies with us here or indeed forward this blog onto someone you think might be encouraged by it.