I was just finishing getting my sick daughter settled in and the mess cleaned up when my phone rang. It was a friend who knew my daughter was home sick and called to check on us. Through the conversation she encouraged me, offered to run to the store for me, and even offered to take care of my younger daughter or keep my older son after school. Wow! I was so thankful! My friend had taken an unexpected opportunity to show me hospitality as our family dealt with sickness.
We've all experienced sickness and I think can agree it's never fun! How can we offer hospitality in the midst of sickness? With a little thought and some advance planning we can be a little more prepared when the opportunity comes, and this is one opportunity we know will come!
Here are a few ideas for helping others when they're experiencing sickness:
When children are sick, consider making a little care package that might include:
*printed coloring pages/ coloring book
*new crayons or markers
*fun straws or cups to encourage fluids
*a get well card made by your children
*beads with yarn to make bracelets, necklaces, etc.
*a bath toy
*a "fun" box of tissues
*puzzles (even homemade!)
These items can often be found inexpensively. Library sales sell good books for almost nothing, crayons and markers will be on great sales in August in preparation for back to school, and coloring pages can be printed out for free and customized to the child's interests. One time my daughter received a stuffed animal that was "pre-loved". Her friend chose one of her own to give away and her mom washed it before giving it to us. It's even more special than if it was brand new!
When dropping off a care package, it is best for only the parent to get out of the car. Call ahead to make arrangements which may include just leaving the gift by a door or knocking instead of ringing a doorbell. Also, prepare all children that they will not see their friends (unless it's a wave through a window!). Preparing them ahead will give them realistic expectations. And remember, this is a drop off and not a visit.
For the parents of sick children:
- give a phone call, ask how they're holding up and what they need
- offer to run errands
- if you can keep siblings then offer
- inquire if they want any homework collected from school
- bring them a little treat or cup of coffee
- bring them a bouquet of flowers to freshen up their home
- bring them magazines to browse for enjoyment, encouraging them to rest!
In closing, I had an opportunity that I am so thankful I took! It meant a little schedule rearranging, but it was so worth it! A friend's daughter was sick, and upon a doctor visit was diagnosed with strep throat. Of course this meant a trip to the pharmacy, once the prescription was ready. Thankfully this mom knew her daughter needed to rest at home, and called me with her need. Would I come over while she ran to the pharmacy? Yes!
I went over and kept my children in the car, happily entertained with books, and went in her house to check on her daughter about every 5 minutes. This allowed my friend to run the errand, her daughter to rest, and our family to be blessed by helping. She asked me and I was truly honored. I was thankful to be able to help and appreciated her honesty in what she needed, especially since I wouldn't have anticipated it on my own!
I've experienced hospitality in the midst of sickness and learned that it is an opportunity to offer hospitality!
How can you offer hospitality in the midst of sickness?
Amy H. offered hospitality to college students for over 10 years as the wife of a collegiate minister. Today her ministry focuses on her husband (who now coordinates campus ministers in New England), three children (ages 2, 5, and 7), and friends both new and old.