In the days following the birth of my son it became apparent that he would not be discharged as quickly as full term babies. As the doctors and nurses assessed the situation, his health, and his development, they all agreed that it would be weeks, if not months, before he would be eligible for discharge. I was heartbroken. Not only would my son not be going home with me when I was discharged, he was being kept in a NICU that was 45 minutes away from our home. I felt desperate and scared at the thought of leaving him and began spending every waking moment by his bedside, talking, singing, and holding his tiny little hand. When my doctor talked of discharge I burst into tears and begged her to keep me longer. Because I had been through major surgery, she approved two additional days. My cousin and her husband came to visit shortly after this; my husband recapped the story to them and told of the mercy that the doctor had for us and our situation. Half an hour later my cousin and her husband returned with the news that they had booked us a weeklong stay at the nearby extended stay hotel, with an open-ended start date so that we could begin our stay as soon as I was discharged. I was stunned to silence at their generosity and floored by their thoughtfulness in our difficult situation. Soon after, my sister heard of my cousin's generosity and called the hotel; she told them that she and her husband would take over the rest of our stay so that we could "live" nearby until the day that he was discharged, however long that would be. Even now I cannot believe how blessed we were by the generosity of our loved ones. Those two beautiful gestures were compounded by the millions of small things my parents did to ease our stress: little things like doing our laundry, picking up food, taking shifts with the baby, and just keeping us company as we tried to remain focused on the task at hand. Looking back, I realize how tremendously blessed we were despite the stress. As I reflect on each day, the feelings of love and the support far outweigh the fear and discouragement we thought we felt.
The memory gives pause for reflection; how am I blessing those in need? What small things can I do to ease their burden or to carry their load? How can I be the hands and feet of God today?
A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.