Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Stress, Songs, and Airplane Tickets.

Some days I get stressed out before I even walk out the door.  This morning, I knew I'd be seeing more clients than I'd ever before seen in a single day.  They were also all first-time clients, which meant the sessions would be long and I'd have to cover all my bases: spiritual, emotional, and physical needs -- always difficult to remember everything.  (After I walk a client to the door, it seems like I always remember a question didn't cover -- ugh.)

Oh.  And the write-ups.  I try not to take notes when I'm in a counseling session so the girls don't think I'm making them into a "case" or a "project", but I had a hard time imagining a whole day without any note-taking.  Some evenings I sit down to do my write-ups and can't remember which FOB is employed and which one is here in the United States without a visa.  Which girl attends the church on the corner and which one hasn't been in years.  Which FOB already has 2 kids and which one has the stepson named Eric who is always getting into trouble at school.

Long story short?  I got through it.  In some places, it was rough.  My first client didn't care where she was going after she died ("This might sound funny, but....").  For a minute, I didn't know where to start.  Then the Lord gave me words.  My last client barely spoke English.  Then the Lord reminded me of my South Korean co-counselor who taught me a lot of useful phrases during our summer together.  We finally were able to connect.

When I finally left the center, I no longer felt up to visiting the nursing home, but decided to go anyway because I'd already promised to stop.  And as usual, once I got there, I was hooked.  I spent an hour and a half visiting and praying with everyone, but after walking up and down the halls a few extra times, my feet were starting to hurt and I decided it was probably time to go. 

I told everyone goodbye and started to walk out, but my friend Willie grabbed my arm and said, "Listen sugar, you go ahead and sit down in that chair for a minute until I come back."  I kind of shrugged to my other friend Beulah and watched as Willie walked out the door onto the balcony.

"Should I go?" I asked her. 

"I don't know, honey," she said.  "He might be playing some kind of a prank.  Why don't you wait and see."

That sounded good.  I decided to wait.

Time went by.  He still didn't show up and I was getting impatient.  I didn't look forward to an even later, long drive home through the city so I walked over to the balcony door and looked through it.  On the far side of the porch, I saw Willie enjoying his evening "smoking privilege" (that all the residents speak of with such reverence).  Seriously?  I thought.  He probably forgot he told me to wait.

I walked back to where Beulah and her friends were sitting.  "I think Willie got sidetracked," I said.  "I'm going to go ahead and leave."

Then I heard him call out behind me, "Jennifer, wait -- don't go!  I want to sing you a song.  Or -- oh well, maybe next time."

"Oh no, please sing!  I was just going to leave 'cause I thought you forgot about me," I teased.  "I'd love to hear your song."

So, with all the residents gathered around in the hallway and a few nurses looking on amusedly, Willie threw his head back and sang 5 verses of song I highly suspect he (mostly) made up on the spot.  It was all about how much he truly loved me and how much everyone looked forward to my visit.  The fourth stanza was about his work with the local police force (it made me smile) and the fifth talked about how much he wanted to meet my family and go with me to Africa some day.

One line that stood out particularly was when he said their hearts all skipped a beat when they heard my footsteps on the stairs and then saw me walk through the door.  Really??!! 

Because, wow.  I don't deserve that.  In fact, tonight, I didn't even feel like coming.  I didn't know it meant so much to them.  I didn't know what to say.

Then Beulah told me to wait and came back a few minutes later clutching a copy of Our Daily Bread and a stack of type-written papers with guided Bible study notes.  "You gave me books last week and I'm still reading that picture book you gave me about Africa," she said.  "Remember you wrote in the front of it?  Now honey, you take this one and read it.  It's about God and I think you'll really like it.  Look up all the verses and study it, okay honey?  Promise me you'll do it."

I assured her that I would, hugged them all, told them I loved them, and ran down two flights of steps, through the foyer, and down the dark sidewalk to the car, thinking the whole way, "He is faithful, He is faithful".  I could barely remember the morning's stress.

And then, as if that wasn't enough of a blessing, when I came home and checked my email, I had a message from my travel agent -- she found me a round-trip ticket!  Also, it's missionary fare: which means that I can take 3 pieces of luggage without an additional [and crazy] fee.  It was also $200 less than I'd expected to spend and I am so grateful!

I'm still trusting God for the rest of it....but He has a way of working those things out.  I'm not worried.  He is so good to me.  Why do I ever doubt Him?


bondChristian said...

Loved that. Nothing like a made-up song (aren't they all) to insanely boost someone's spirit!

I used to do that more often myself. Your post is making me want to break into song more often. Too bad it's 12:35 am and no one's around right now...

-Marshall Jones Jr.

Justin Scott said...

Lol! A lot of my patients at the hospital where I work will make up songs but their kids. What a trip! ;>

Allie said...

That's a really neat testimony. Thanks for sharing! How many residents are in your nursing home?

Katherine said...

Posts like this help get me through a humdrum day. Thanks Jen!