One of the persons who has made each day enjoyable for me in my new job in the hospital has been Minnie.
Minnie is a loving, outgoing soul who stands in one of the busiest intersections of our hospital corridors where hundreds of people walk daily. I met her on the first day of my job because her purpose is to “read people’s faces and look for that lost expression” as she describes it, and then ask the question, “May I help you?”
I obviously had question marks on my face that day.
In her gentle, loving style, she smiled and said, “Oh, I can help you find that!” with great enthusiasm and wamth. Not only did she give directions, but she looked at my nametag and exclaimed, “Oh my, you must be our new Director of Pastoral Care! We are so glad you are here!” I could feel any anxiety slowly drain away. Before long she was encouraging me and said that I would find my way around in no time. And I believed her.
Since that first day I have stood and talked with Minnie and discovered she has worked for the hospital for several decades, and is now with Guest Services. She has the ideal experience, knowledge, and personality for her job. She has the gift of hospitality. I have watched her give directions to families who are trying to find their loved ones in the hospital, and ask others how their family member is doing when she sees them later in the day. And they stop and tell her.
Minnie is a human GPS with a heart.
On this All Saints Day in the Christian church, I am reminded of persons who have shown me the way when I needed someone to give me guidance or directions at critical times in my life.
School teachers like Mrs. Rushton in the fifth grade who gave me special attention the month after my mother died suddenly and encouraged me daily. Or Tom Jennings, my math teacher, who took the time to design a workout and rehabilitation program for me in the 11th grade following my shoulder surgery during football season, and met me after school for months to make sure I got back into shape. Tom is one of the reasons I got a football scholarship to college. He showed me the way.
I could name dozens of others like my Dad who listened carefully to me on the phone during my junior year of college when I asked him, “Dad, how do I know if God is calling me into ministry?” And his answer was reassuring when he said, “you’ll just know, Malcolm, you’ll just know. Trust. I will pray for you to know what God wants you to do.”
And so as I begin a new chapter in my life, I want to be like Minnie, Mrs. Rushton, Tom Jennings, and my Dad for others who have questions on their faces. I want to give them encouragement during difficult times and be willing to walk beside them on their journey.
And what about for you? Who has shown you the way during difficult times? Who has given you directions when you needed it most? Who has welcomed you when you were a stranger and given you the gift of hospitality?
I want to be that person for others. I invite you to do the same. Will you join me in looking for question marks on people’s faces? They are in front of us every single day.
As for me, I make sure I go by Minnie’s post to get a hug, to share a smile, and just to learn from her as she helps others on their way. Sometimes I just playfully bow towards her as I walk by to honor her gift.
Thank God for the Minnie’s in this world, and for all the saints who show us the way.