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You See What You’re Looking For

When I was a boy growing up outside of New York City, I was an avid fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers. In fact, I have not yet quite forgiven them for moving west. The archenemy in my childhood was the New York Yankees. I had seen them only on television and heard them only on the radio until I was invited by my father to skip school and to go to the World Series game between the Yankees and the Dodgers.

I'll tell you, it was one of the great thrills of my childhood. I remember sitting there, smelling the hot dogs and hearing the cheers of the crowd and the feel of it all. I knew those Dodgers were going to shellac those Yankees once and for all.


Making The Sickrooms Bearable

Browsing in a London bookstore last summer, I ran across a little volume by Mrs. Leslie Stevens, called Notes from Sickrooms. It was a volume of instructions for domestic nurses. My eye fell upon this passage as I looked through it:

“When an illness has gone on for some time, the sick person becomes very weary of the things that surround her. She has looked at all the pictures which hang on the walls and at the patterns which ornament or disfigure the paper till she can bear them no longer. The nurse cannot, of course, alter all these things, but she can give them a certain change in the aspect of the room. A looking glass, so placed that it can reflect the sky and the trees–or if the sufferer is in London, some portion of the street–will be a refreshment to the eyes which have for so long not pierced beyond the narrow boundary of the sickroom.”


Whitman’s Hospital Visits

In the Winter 1981 interview with Leadership, Eugene Peterson said, “Every pastor involved in hospital visitation should read Specimen Days, by Walt Whitman” (Boston: David R. Godine).

The book tells how Whitman was sent out by the YMCA's Christian Commission to minister to the Civil War's sick and wounded. On January 20, 1863, Whitman left with the following charge from the commission: “His work will be that of … circulating good reading matter; visiting the sick and wounded to instruct, comfort, and cheer them; helping chaplains in the ministrations and influence for the good of the men under their care; and addressing patients individually and collectively in explanation of the work of the Christian Commission and its delegates, and for their personal instruction and benefit, temporal and eternal.”


The Power of a Prayer

In his book Living Life on Purpose, Greg Anderson shares the story of one man's journey to joy:

… his wife had left him and he was completely depressed. He had lost faith in himself, in other people, in God–he found no joy in living.

One rainy morning this man went to a small neighborhood restaurant for breakfast. Although several people were at the diner, no one was speaking to anyone else.  Our miserable friend hunched over the counter, stirring his coffee with a spoon.

In one of the small booths along the window was a young mother with a little girl. They had just been served their food when the little girl broke the sad silence by almost shouting, “Momma, why don't we say our prayers here?”