The Power of Encouragement

A lady in her late 20’s or early 30’s softly yelled, “Housekeeping!”

Since I was in the hospital last month, that announcement meant that a person was coming into my room to empty waste baskets, perhaps mop, clean mirrors, etc. This lady had a specific “uniform” so that any employee of the hospital could recognize the status of people who were involved in that vocation. In fact, the color of the scrubs fabrics can
indicate the profession of the person wearing them. For instance, doctors wear white coats, many with stenciled or monogrammed names.

A friend of mine told me that he was involved in staffing and managing housekeeping employees in hospital environments (not this hospital chain), and that self esteem and morale were major issues due to the way they thought other professions would view them.

“Housekeeping” employees were lower skilled people, but that doesn’t translate to “less important” people.

With that in mind, I felt the Holy Spirit move in me and I watched the way this young woman performed her assignments within the confines of my room. The waste baskets were emptied efficiently, and replacement bag liners were inserted and tied off with expert technique. At the conclusion to her duties, she was prepared to leave. As she went past the foot of my hospital bed, I asked her if I could talk with her a moment. She stopped and I could see from the expression on her face that this was a question that she seldom receives.

I told her that I was watching the way she did her tasks, the care she took to be efficient to minimize disruptions in my room, and the excellence she exhibited in the end result. I concluded with the statement, “I like to catch people doing things right, and you did a great job in here today. Here is a hat tip for you” (with the gesture of me tipping my imaginary hat in her direction). The unexpected response of her bursting immediately into tears took me completely off guard.

I asked her if she was OK. She responded between sobs, “It has been a horrible morning, and I wasn’t expecting what you said.” I asked her if I could pray for her. She nodded “yes”,
and I patted the side of my hospital bed. She made her was around to the right side and WENT TO HER KNEES, with her forehead resting on the edge of my hospital bed mattress. I was not expecting THAT, but gently placed my right hand on her back/left shoulder and prayed, “Lord, there are NO unimportant jobs in this hospital and NO unimportant people working in this hospital. She did a great job at her duties here today, and thank YOU, Lord for sending HER into MY room so I could recognize her efforts. Bless the rest of her day, Lord. Let her know that YOU are watching, and YOU recognize her good intentions. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

With that, she proceeded to the small room sink where the paper towels were, trying to dry her eyes with the continuing flowing tears. Before she left, she told me something that shook me to the core. She gave me a big hug and stood back and said, “No one has ever done that for me before.” With that she went out.

“Lord, You surround us every day with those who are struggling. Allow us to be that spiritual salve to those who have been hammered on the anvil of adversity. They are everywhere. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

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