As promised, each month this year, I will cover an act, or acts of mercy. This month we will focus on visiting the sick as part of the Year of Mercy series, where we explore the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
Have you ever had to stay in the hospital for an extended period of time? Or, have you ever been homebound while convalescing to better health? I have, and I can attest to the fact that it gets very lonely and scary, while lying in a hospital bed. Because of my clubbed feet, I spent almost half of my childhood either in the hospital, or recuperating at home. The nights in the hospital were the worst. Especially for a child, it gets scary being in a strange place at night. I just wanted to be at home, surrounded by my family, in my own bed. Therefore, anyone who would come to visit me, especially at night, made my day!
Visits help break up the monotony of recuperation. Visits enliven the spirits of those who are sick, because conversation about anything other than the illness gives the sick person something else to think about for a few moments – and that is a gift to them. When we take the time to visit with someone who is sick we are extending mercy to them; we give of our time to share in their suffering, and to let them know that we love and care for them.
Suggestions for Visiting the Sick:
- A little sheepish or squeamish about visiting a sick person by yourself? Then take another loved one/friend with you to help out in engaging in conversation. It just might make the sick person feel even more special that two of you came to visit.
- Do you have a loved one that lives in an assisted living village/nursing home? Make the time to visit. There is something to be gained from the wisdom of the elderly, that by engaging in a conversation with them, you just might be the one that walks away feeling blessed.
- Are you a gifted cook? Then make a meal that can be shared with the homebound. A good home-cooked meal warms the heart and soul of the sick and makes them feel wanted and cherished.
All of these examples for how you can support the sick cost you basically nothing monetarily, yet to the hospitalized or homebound, you are a treasure! You will be giving far more than your time. You will be giving the sick a sense of worth, knowing they are not forgotten!