Monday, January 17, 2011

Week Three of The List: You People Are Sick

Two weeks of my journey on The List are down and rolling along smoothly. I am going to the City Rescue Mission this evening. The plan is to attend orientation although some days the thought of moving in there doesn’t seem half bad. Oh relax, I am just pulling your leg which by the way is better than pulling your finger. That is just wrong. Anyway, onto week three.

3. Ask your pastor if someone on your church’s sick list would like a visit.

I didn’t need to ask anyone because as such is life, two people I love ended up in the hospital over the last two weeks. I won’t go into details because they are their details to share or not. I know, it’s so unlike me to be so considerate. Even so, I was able to go in and visit with both of them. To be able to hear the challenges they faced and pray with them was a real gift to me. I am very thankful for both of these friends and am happy to say that all is well.

I do have another story to tell you in the hopes of throwing a challenge out there to anyone willing to take it. Ready? Ok, here it is.

A few years ago, I worked for AOL as a rewards and recognition program manager. It was quite exciting and I seriously loved my job. I was a glorified party planner and got to give things away and make people happy. I’m telling you, Santa Claus had nothing on me. It was awesome. Anyway, after one of the big events I had put on, there were close to 50 balloons left over. These were not just any old balloons. These were super fancy mylar western balloons. They were big and in the shapes of horses, cowboy hats and boots. Roy and Dale would have been drooling over these things.

At the end of the evening, Bob and I and another manager loaded our three cars with all the leftover balloons and headed to the hospital. The plan was to drop them off at the front desk for the pediatric ward. When we all walked in carrying the ginormous balloons, the little gray haired lady manning the front desk told us to go ahead and take them up to Peds. Finally, we made it to the nurses station and let them know we were donating the balloons. Several nurses had gathered by then and we were told to go ahead and knock on each patient’s door so we could personally make the deliveries.

I will be totally honest here. All three of us were scared. Not one of us wanted to go any further. I have no idea why we were such cowards but we were. When the nurses kept insisting, the decision was made (behind my back, I might add) that Bob and Rick would hold all the balloons and I would be the spokesperson entering each room with the single balloon. I was freaking out but just wanted to get it done by that point.

As I knocked on the first door, my heart pounding in my chest, I heard a mother say, “Come in.” When I opened the door and stepped in, I saw two very worried parents standing by a sick toddler in the bed. All three of them looked at me, then looked behind me at the sea of balloons before finally staring back at me with a big question mark. I nervously explained I was from AOL and just wanted to drop off a balloon to wish them well. That’s when the tears started to flow for the parents as the little one in the bed took the horse and smiled. I quickly walked out and fell apart.

Of course, after seeing what happened, Bob and Rick wanted in on the action, to which I said, “No way! Hand over another balloon,” and booked it to the next room. Each room was pretty much the same scene. I cannot even begin to tell you the feeling of seeing sick kids smile because of a balloon and parents crying over seeing that smile. I will never forget that night. Never.

So, here’s the challenge. Go buy a few balloons, head to the hospital and knock on a few doors. You will receive more than you give. I promise you that.


Marilyn said...

So glad to be back...ah...and to try to catch up on your journey. Yes, to see hearts beating and reaching out to each other and willing to share your stories in the beautiful self deprecating fashion you do. WE NEED to care about each other. Now more than ever. I am getting rested up, looking for that next thing to jump into at home...and yes, ma'am, there is a lot of work to do and right now I could care less about a paycheck, I am just looking around and seeing that well, there are a lot of people who just need to have a dream again.

Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

that is totally "awwwww"some. i love to hear your stories and i can just picture you in them, too.

i would have loved that job at AOL.

Glen said...

you never fail to impress me

Parsley said...

That's just precious!

Delirious said...

Just a reminder: Do not take latex balloons because some children have allergies. Just the mylar. :) Great idea!

Mama Zen said...

May I add flowers or cards for nursing home residents to the challenge?

Brian Miller said...

oh i may just have to take you up on this just to see their faces...

and thank you for the note today...will respond a bit later...smiles.

The Duck Herder said...

Would you just stop making me cry already!!!!!

You are living berloody in ya face kick up the whoopah proof that it is the stupid little free things that make the difference - stuff that costs nothing except a little time and a little random act of kindness or compassion and just being slightly present to someone's pain.

Marla - the avalanche of love.

Libbie said...

Oh Marla ! What an amazing challenge! I hope sometime soon I get a break from the boys so Annie & I can go do that! You are right...balloons make smiles! & that is all a lot of families cling to...a smile.

THanks again!

TechnoBabe said...

What a memory. You were the receiver in that case and you are still benefiting from that experience.

Not So Simply Single said...

Marla, keep doing what you are doing! YOU are a shining star!
Peace be with you!

Marla said...

Marilyn ~ Welcome back!! I am eager to hear about the next thing you jump into as well.

Glen ~ You are easily impressed.
:-) Hey, did you see what Duckie said? It reminded me of you although I have no idea what it means.

Duckie ~ You really need to meet Glen. He talks funny too. :-)

Techno ~ I truly am.

Lisa ~ Too kind as usual. :-)

J.J. in L.A. said...

In the 60's, I was that kid in the hospital. Any little kind gesture was truly appreciated. It makes you feel like you're not alone in the world.

Deborah said...

I spent two months in the hospital when I was seven years old.

There was a woman that volunteered and brought crafts every week and would sit with me and show me how to make them.

I'll never forget her for that. That's you Marla!

gayle said...

That's a great idea! Will do it tomorrow. We are visiting a friend tomorrow who is having knee surgery.....what do you take a man?

Balloons said...

This is really great, i like it. Thank you sharing this blog.

Lily Robinson said...

That would be such fun! I can't imagine anything more enjoyable than making a sick child smile.