At the Bellevue Hospital in New York several years ago, the staff were puzzled because for some strange reason, despite the excellent medical care that the little patients were receiving, they were losing 32 per cent of the children, who were mostly under a year old. The cause of death was usually a minor aliment. The situation dumbfounded the doctors. They knew that their tiny patients were beneficiaries of the latest scientific achievements in medicine, the best possible feeding program that could be designed for them and were in the most sterile surroundings, yet the children were dying.
They someone had an idea. They thought that the missing element in the care of these children was love. So, a call went out for people to come and spend time lovingly caring for the babies. Hundreds of women volunteered, a lot of them had grown children and a need to show love to someone. Often their own grandchildren lived many miles away.
What was the result of this very unscientific idea? The death rate of the babies began to plunge. The difference was so obvious that one of the staff claimed that for the care of these babies the love volunteers were as important as penicillin.
We are made with a need and a desire to love and be loved. Without the opportunity to express and fulfill that need we will not thrive, no matter how optimal our living situation might be.
Giving and receiving love has the power to transform our lives. A Swedish nurse discovered that when she went to work in a convalescent home. There was a woman there who had spoken to no one for three years. All day long, she just sat there in her rocking chair. The nurse decided that she was going to try love. She pulled another rocking chair alongside the woman and rocked along beside her, all the while choosing to feel love this lonely woman. On the third day she did this, the woman opened her eyes and said to the nurse, “You are so kind.” It was the first time she had spoken in the three years she had been in the home. Within two weeks, the woman was well and ready to return to her home. What a powerful tool is love when it is applied to those who are sick, lost or alone.
These are some of the reasons that Jesus left us a faith that He said was to be distinguishable in its uniqueness by total abandonment to love. This is the meaning of the cross. That is what gives us courage to listen to the questions and in our listening, allow His love to touch and transform lives.
Read more about this love in my new book, More Questions than Answers, Sharing Faith by Listening. Here is the link for ordering it. http://wipfandstock.com/store/More_Questions_than_Answers_Sharing_Faith_by_Listening
PS: The earlier book Hot Apple Cider that has my chapter called "Living Outside Our Comfort Zones" is still available from Amazon.