Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Chapel A Day-Day 8 (Blessings)

The last place you might expect to find a blessing is in a hospital. A hospital, after all, is a place of sickness, stress and sadness. If you find the right room in the hospital, though, it can also be a place of healing, hope and happiness.

At Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, Florida, that room is the chapel. 2nd floor--look to the left as you exit the elevator. 

I've sat in this particular chapel many times. I've studied, listened and prayed. 

Over a span of many days some months ago, I prayed a plethora of prayers in this room for my friends' premature babies. The preemies each weighed under two pounds...and every day that they held on was a blessing.

Also in this chapel, I have prayed for my own grown children, my friends, my family, my world. I've even prayed for myself. 

Yes... it's okay to pray for yourself. David did. Jacob did. Jesus did.

Day 8, though, was a day to sit quietly and offer prayers of thanks for blessings and answers to prayers. FOR AN ENTIRE HOUR, DREXEL? Mmmmm, yes. Was it easy? Mmmmmm..... no. If you are like me, you probably find it easier to sit and pray about the problems and concerns and worries of life than it is to recall, and give thanks for, the blessings. Years ago, a very wise woman advised me to begin keeping a journal of my prayer requests...AND my blessings. She said that for every petition I put before God, I should offer a prayer of gratitude as well. I'd like to tell you that I do that every day.

I don't.

But, during this 40 day journey into Lent, I am trying to get better about that. And, so today, I want to share with you that this little chapel-- in a place filled with much sickness and pain-- has yielded answers to prayers that have become blessings not only to me, but to many others as well. Answers to prayers for my children, my friends, my family, my world.. even prayers for myself. They are too numerous to actually name, with the exception of one-- 

Meet Madeleine and Sloan.

Courtesy: Devin and Tiffany McInnis

These are the precious babies born so early to my friends Devin and Tiffany McInnis. Madeleine spent 120 days in the Sacred Heart NICU. Her brother, Sloan, was there 150 days. But guess what?  They are home! They are precious! They are growing! They are still facing many challenges and I still pray for them. But, along with their parents, and indeed their entire strong and faithful family, these babies have become a wonderful inspiration to so many of us. 

When I look at their pictures and hear the updates on how far they've come, 
Courtesy: Devin and Tiffany McInnis

and as I sit in this now-familiar hospital chapel, I give thanks. 

I give thanks for many things, not the least of which is the blessing that comes from spending reflective time--- in a room ---in a hospital.

Sacred Heart Hospital-- 2nd floor--look to the left as you exit the elevator.

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