Millennia ago, the apostle John wrote to a loved one, “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” We too yearn for good health for our family and friends. But we also know that illness and injuries happen. And though medical experts are dedicated to the art and science of healing, their best efforts cannot stop the inevitability of pain, sickness, and death.
How can we best care for loved ones in times of trouble? Believing that “love never fails”, Memorial Christian Hospital hires social workers whose job description is simply to love. With genuine concern, these men and women serve patients and family members. Coming alongside, they offer friendship and support. They can truly empathize because they share common humanity. Through their loving actions and peaceful words, they promote healing of the whole person.
When a patient is admitted to MCH, he or she brings the entire person-body, soul, and spirit- not just a sick body. He or she needs physical, emotional, and spiritual help. For this reason, MCH’s social workers demonstrate love in action. They know the hospital routine, which may not be obvious to the patient. Social workers quietly explain the day’s schedule and plans. They respect each person’s expressed needs and wishes. They calm a child’s fears with a gift toy or coloring book. They may fluff up a patient’s pillow or brush someone’s hair. They may sit nearby, hold a baby or hold a hand, run for a nurse or bring a cool drink.
An injured or sick person’s natural reactions to disastrous circumstances may include anxiety, stress, suspicion, depression, anger, or frustration. Social workers patiently care for men, women, boys, and girls regardless of the patient’s state of mind. Though none of us can fully understand God’s ways, social workers by their loving actions attest to God’s care and presence. By their care, they testify that God shares our grief. He enters our world of suffering.
Social workers also demonstrate love with their words. Some of MCH’s social workers have received health training, so they can knowledgeably answer a patient’s concerns or a family member’s questions. They offer counseling for infertile women and for new mothers, or for abusive home-situations. As peacemakers, they work toward conflict resolutions.
Illness and injury afflicts the body; depression follows, affecting the mind; doubts of God’s love then affect the spirit. Social workers know the therapeutic power of hope; they expect God to be our Refuge and Help in time of need. Should a patient request prayer, the social worker will invoke God’s healing power, affirming God’s care. Natural disasters happen; patients do not need to blindly endure their fate. Rather they can know that God, the Life-Giver, seeks their good in the midst of adversity.
Social workers affirm each patient’s value, because each patient has been created by God, in His image. Our wholeness before God is not dependent on being physically “complete”. Recoverers, new mothers, and amputees can together walk from MCH with joy; God offers His love to each person, in each situation. Personal peace comes from the Lord Himself.
MCH’s social workers live out the apostle John’s words, “We love because He first loved us.”