I met the couple in the hospital’s lobby where I worked. One of my responsibilities was to tour families in quest of the best physical rehabilitation center to treat their loved one after a traumatic event. Some looked for miracles following paralyzing spinal cord injuries, others sought help in the aftermath of head injuries or strokes. Yet, all families searched for hope.
Two weeks ago, this mother and father’s eighteen year-old daughter sustained a life-changing head injury in a car accident. Now, stable and awake from a coma, doctors suggested she enter physical rehab.
“You’re our third and final facility to visit,” Mom offered. Her voice trembled slightly. That and her moist eyes gave away her effort not to cry. Dad’s curt nod and darting glances everywhere around the lobby betrayed his own struggle to keep feelings in check.
As Mom described their search, I recognized the competition — a hospital who recently re-opened their doors in a spacious, state-of-the-art building and a rehab center well-known for its treatment of head injuries. Wondering how our modest, three year-old facility would stack up against these powerhouses, I began the parents’ tour.
We arrived back in the lobby forty-five minutes later, after observing therapy sessions and greeting physical therapists, doctors and nurses. Without preamble, Mom turned to me and said, “We’ve decided you’re the right facility for our daughter.”
“Wonderful,” I blinked, surprised at such a quick decision. “What differentiated us?”
“That’s easy,” Mom replied. Her eyes watered. “I counted the smiles. On your patients and staff. You win.”
“Smiles?” I didn’t grasp her logic.
Tears spilled onto Mom’s cheeks. “Yes, smiles. They give us hope.”
Two thousand years ago, God smiled down on us. He sacrificed His Son to offer what the Greeks called elpis — expectant hope. Not the “trying to think positively so that something good might happen” hope, but the “expectation that it will occur” kind. Our Creator radiated His light, smiling through the darkness so we can hope with expectation of victory.
So, today, I smile, wanting to extend to others the expectant hope that is mine. Happy Easter.
“God did this so that,…we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” (Hebrews 6:18-19, NIV)