Today is my last day working at the Children's Hospital. Monday, I will change departments within the hospital system and move to a brand-new clinic that is just three miles from my home.
When I reflect on the last 4 1/2 years, my heart is overwhelmed with gratitude. As I often have told the families I serve, I get to see miracles every day! And while it seems a bit odd to me to write a blog about blogs, I am going to venture out for a second time in my almost 12 years of writing in this format to do so. Why? Because, as an internal processor, so much of what I have learned working at this amazing place is best expressed in writing.
So, below are 10 lessons learned through impactful encounters at the Children's Hospital that continue to influence my life on a daily basis. [Simply click on the bolded title and the full blog entry will pop up in a new window]. As you take time to read them, I pray that somehow there would be fruit in your life from my time here. May each blog entry encourage you as you take another step forward in your faith journey.
 After a near-collision with another employee, one of the very first lessons I learned at the Children's Hospital was to Look Up. Most every time I walk down the hall toward the Recovery Room, this divine nudge comes to mind.
Perhaps you’ve been obliviously barreling through relational intersections
where near-misses have abounded.
May I offer you the simple invitation the Holy Spirit extended to me?
“Child, look up, and seek the counsel of the Lord."
 One of the profound privileges I have had here is getting to see just how amazingly gifted and how enormously hard our care team works to serve the precious families that come to the hospital. This tribute poem acknowledged the fact that what each of them does is not unseen nor unappreciated. ...And You Sighed
...sighs are beautiful expressions of your sacrificial love,
your relentless devotion, your fierce passion, your steadfast commitment,
your resilient courage, your gentle humility,
your strategic creativity, your selfless dedication,
and your attentive care for patients and for their families.
So with a deep sigh of earnest admiration
and with profound gratitude, I say, "Thank you."
 As I hope you can see by now, the staff of VCH3 has become my family. We have laughed together, cried together, celebrated victories together, and we have grieved together. We have rallied in joy and we have stood in silent honor. All of those interactions, face to face, or even over the phone, have become powerful reminders that an atmosphere of intentional encouragement can make the workplace a wonderful place to do life. I am so grateful to how each one is a Champion of Encouragement.
There are people all around you, weary from fighting battles
of which we are completely unaware.
Oh, if we could hear the silent cries
of those desperately longing for a word of hope.
Would you be a Spirit-led champion of encouragement today?
 While working at the hospital, we lived-through a massive construction project: the addition of 4 stories, two elevators, and remodeling on each of the remaining 8 floors. Amidst the brain-rattling sounds of a jackhammer pounding concrete, I learned a great lesson about choosing joy now. Postponing Joy
“We dilute negativity with rejoicing [Graham Cooke].
Regardless of "this," or "that", or "those people," we can choose to rejoice
in the unflappable, unshakable, and unchanging nature of God."
 Along the journey of the physical transformation of the building came some unexpected issues. And while there have been normal wear-and-tear little water leaks on our floor... this particular one was a doozy. My poor response to it became a poignant lesson that I will remember for the rest of my life. A Self-Administered IV
Are you weary from dragging around an IV pole laden with negativity?
Are you tired of “forfeiting the grace that could be yours”? [Jonah 2:8 NIV].
Hear the good news: “A mind focused on the Spirit
will find full life and complete peace” [Romans 8:6 VOICE].
I am so ready for that! Aren't you?
 One of the many things I have appreciated about the Children's Hospital is their consistent investment in improving technology. A massive change in the wireless network became the avenue of a memorable life-lesson that often comes to mind when I log on. Forget this Network
“Son, as easily as your iPad seeks to connect to the 'Employee’ Wi-Fi,
sometimes your mind Auto-Joins an ‘Old’ network.
When connected, you operate in old patterns of thinking that subvert your growth.
Robust in the vast bandwidth, you become negative, critical, and sarcastic.
All of which fuel your petty, passive-aggressive behavior.
Son, you need to ‘Forget This Network.’”
 A profound joy I have experienced at the hospital is walking side by side with families to PACU where they are reunited with their children after surgery. Incredibly, that 50-yard walk has afforded many beautiful and powerful opportunities to offer a last-minute word of encouragement as they take the next step in caring for their children. One of the questions that I frequently ask prior to that long walk to recovery is May I Carry That for You?
Perhaps as you have been reading, the Lord has brought to mind a backpack,
a duffle bag, or even a suitcase that you have been carrying.
And maybe like that mom, you "go everywhere with these bags,"
having become "used to it" because it's been there for so long.
May I extend to you an invitation to make an exchange?
Hear Jesus's question, "May I carry that for you?"
 Often when I share about working at the hospital, I include the fact that we understandably see the best and the worst of people because of the emotionally tense environment of the surgery floor. This blog came out of a less-than-stellar experience and shares an invitation to how to respond when it happens again. 3rd Space Ground Level
"Thank You for being so lavish and gracious.
Three spaces in, ground-level… that’s extraordinary."
As I unbuckled my seatbelt, still a little stumped by this divine gesture,
the Lord gently explained, "That is what I want you to do today.
I want you to give people the 3rd space in, ground-level.
Hospitably offer them the gift of kindness, regardless of how they speak to you.
Son, predispose yourself to grace.”
 Along with a certain pandemic came a change in staff protocol that has become painfully routine. When I had experienced just about enough of it, God stepped in and revealed a simple truth about everyday life. What's Next Papa?
I can testify that when I have come to work
with my mind and heart looking to God with audacious anticipation,
God-saturated moments to love, to encourage, to exhort, to comfort,
and to simply be present with hurting families have abounded.
It has indeed been a "discovery of the greatness" of God.
And, to be honest, I am experiencing something I never have before:
laughing with God in joyful amazement of His goodness
as I walk back to my car at the end of my shift.
 I have been, indeed, privileged to see just how extraordinary the entire perioperative team is on our floor. Swallowed up in the intensity of their day, they often miss the reality of just how deeply impactful their gestures of compassionate care actually are on the patients and families. If I could take a moment and share face to face with each person on the VCH3 floor, I would say this: I Wanted You to Know...
"Let's see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out...
spurring each other on" [Hebrews 10:25 MSG].
Suddenly, my heart quickened, realizing that God was graciously giving me,
a timid introvert when it comes to initiating conversation,
a way of walking out my longing to have a heart-culture of encouragement.
What is it? Simply, "Say what you see."
I trust that by reading these blog entries, you will sense how deeply I have been touched and transformed by working at the Children's Hospital. And I pray that the lessons and truths I am still processing will be of great encouragement to you.
While words are inadequate to express the depth of my gratitude to my VCH3 family, these lyrics penned by Stephen Schwarts in the musical "Wicked" capture it as best as I can currently say it. "Because I knew you I have been changed for good."
If you appreciated those blogs, there are a few others that I have written stemming from my experiences at the children's hospital. Enjoy Worn Soles and Worn Souls, When Your Assignment Becomes Just a Job, and Pest Control.
If this blog has been meaningful to you, I invite you to do two things. Subscribe to the blog. You will be one of the first to receive a heads-up via email when a new entry is posted! Then, I invite you to share this blog with your sphere of friends. You never know how God might sustain the weary through a simple word of encouragement!