“IN SICKNESS AND HEALTH” — Lent, Day 14

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Working in the health care field has its ups and downs (as every job does!), but one thing I have been able to witness multiple times are the patients who are in long-term relationships or marriages that come onto our floor as patients.

First, there was a tiny old woman years ago who stuck with me after all this time.  Her husband was admitted for some medical care and she came up to me at the desk and said with a shaky voice, “My husband is staying here overnight and I don’t know what to do…”

“What is the matter?  Does he need anything in his room?”,  I asked.

“No, no, he’s wonderful, but we’ve never been apart.  We’ve been married for forty years and we’ve never spent an evening apart. What will I do without him?”

I didn’t have an answer that would satisfy, simply said, “He will be well taken care of here”.  Inwardly I was struck by how lost she was without her husband.

Then we have patients who aren’t given a good prognosis.  They will spend the last days of their life in our care.  Many times we have spouses who camp out in the room of the patient.   We find them a cot to sleep on and they spend every waking minute with their loved one.  This, of course, isn’t restricted to husband and wife.  I will never forget a daughter who spent weeks on our unit, not wanting to leave her mother to die alone.

Even though we see the worst of patients and we are often saddened by their prognosis or mistakes they have made that bring them to this point in health, the fact is — loyalty is underrated and becomes very apparent when people are in need.

It’s very easy to be there for each other when things are going splendidly;  it doesn’t take much from us to stick around during the high times.  The reality hits when we are going through something, when physical, emotional or mental. The quality of love we have for each other, our loyalty is an important virtue.

We are all in the same boat, in a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty.
G.K. Chesterson

In the Bible one of the greatest displays of loyalty is in the friendship between David and Jonathan.  (You can read more about that friendship here: https://rcg.org/youth/articles/1004-jad.html).  Even though Jonathan was charged by his father to find (and kill) David, Jonathan remained loyal to David to the end of his days.

Sometimes we can relegate loyalty to the back burner to avoid confrontation.  If someone is mistreating our spouse or friends, loyalty can be viewed negatively as it may require taking a stand.  However, when we fight for the people we care about, we show them how much they mean to us.

Never underestimate the power of loyalty in relationships.
After all, through our good and bad times, God always remains loyal to us.

DAILY PRAYER:  LORD, show me how to be loyal to my friends and family.  If they need my help, give me strength and wisdom in navigating difficult situations.  When my partner needs my support, help me to be aware of it and to stand by them.  AMEN. 

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