Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A hospital gown. . .

I serve on the board of directors at Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance, the non-profit organization that operates our city's new homeless assistance center, The Bridge.

Last Thursday afternoon, I sat in a strategic planning committee session at The Bridge. We met in one of the new classrooms. One side of the room is almost all glass that provides a window onto the street just outside.

During our conversation, a woman walked down the sidewalk as she made her way to the front gate of the facility. She wore only a hospital patient gown with a matching outer robe, most likely just another bed gown creatively positioned to provide her at least a bit of modesty.

Identification and treatment wristbands still in place, she cradled a small box in her arms, no doubt containing some treasure she retrieved from her stay in the hospital.

What I saw on her person was likely all that she owned in the world.

I expect that she was dropped off at The Bridge by some health care provider who determined her stay was up. The chosen "after care plan" for her was a ride to our facility where she was gladly welcomed in.

Her passing reset the purpose of our meeting for me, rendering our detailed discussion of by-laws almost irrelevant, certainly comical.

At the same time, her life pressed on us a severe urgency that calls for the most extreme form of merciful compassion and community commitment.

As I watched her limp toward our door, I wondered how her story reads.

As I pondered her situation, it became very clear that the reasons and the details as to why she arrived in such a state just don't matter at all.

My sister has nothing but a hospital gown and a box of tissue.

What more do I need to understand?


Greg said...

If I do nothing more than read these words you wrote today and the Bible for the rest of my life, I will be the much better as interact with people in my world.

Amanda said...

My sister has nothing but a hospital gown and a box of tissue.

What more do I need to understand?

That's just beautiful.