There is the sound of meals rolling down the aisle of the ward and the distinction of plastic utensils for every meal or the calling of staff for the starting of a group to attend.
During the weekdays it wasn’t bad. We kept busy with groups and doctor visits but weekends were awful. You may wait around all day in the hopes of a visitor, but most of the time was spent in your room or pacing the hall. There was rarely enough staff to take us out in what was referred to as outside. Ounce you got out, there was a very high chain-link fence to keep anyone from leaving. The other option was the TV room, which was also only assessable when there was enough staff to watch everyone. These rarely happened because the unit was usually under staffed.
During one of my hospital stays I met a precious little angel, we’ll call, Annie. This dear soul had down syndrome, was blind, heard voices (schizophrenia), and loved Jesus with all her heart. When the voices got really bad the only thing that would calm her down was singing, “Jesus Loves Me”.
She didn’t spend anytime outside her room with the general population. It never occurred to me to ask the staff why. I can only guess that it was too much stimuli for her to handle. There were a couple of us that would visit her during our down time from groups and meals. Any time we would hear Annie screaming we would get to her as soon as possible to hold her hands and talk to her about what the voices were telling her and the fallacy in what they were saying, pray with her and if all that didn’t work we would sing, “Jesus Loves Me”. As she started feeling better she would join us in singing. Such a simple song, that rang out the words of truth. A song that brought such comfort and healing.
For some reason that none of us will ever know why, they decided Annie should be transferred somewhere else. This made Annie very scared and anxious. I was with her holding her hand singing to her right up until the guys with the gurney started to take her away. I told one EMT “Sing the song ‘Jesus Loves Me’ to her, it calms her.” He said, “You’re a Proverbs 31 woman.” My heart warmed, my throat tightened up & tears ebbed on my eyelids (as is happening as I write this) and I smiled as he wheeled her away. There in a Psychiatric Hospital a patient, not as an employee, he saw something in me; in the psych ward where the most humiliating labels come from, that touched my heart and sent it souring higher than any bird you can imagine. That moment though my body was locked up, my heart and soul were in heaven!
I’ve been hospitalized over 35 times and I could tell you how God met me each time. Some people may see all of these hospitalizations as a failure of me not trusting God or of God not meeting me when I needed Him the most. But that could be nothing further from the truth, in each and everyone I can see how God has blessed me. He has either used me, open my eyes by someone else or both.
Sometimes I wonder why God chose to bless me with the thorns He did. But then I’m reminded that God can meet you anywhere no matter what the circumstances. I’m also reminded how truly blessed I am. I’m truly blessed the more bows in your arsenal the more lives you are able to affect. For that affect I’ll ask God for as many as He feels I am capable of handling.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the hospital and if God calls me to go again; wherever He calls I’ll go.
Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart