There is no doubt that family life with an individual who has medical issues or unique abilities has many dynamic challenges. Comprehensive treatment approaches have been devised for a wide variety of diagnoses, addressing physical, emotional, psychological, educational, financial, vocational and even spiritual factors. Over the years, the sound practice of medicine has recognized that the whole person and their family are affected in myriad ways by any number of disorders or diseases.
One of the more difficult parts of dealing with special needs can be the seemingly endless stream of bills that plague the mailbox. If a loved one is placed inpatient in a medical or psychological facility, there are bills from the doctor, one from the facility, one from the lab. For those treated in outpatient settings, bills flood in for office visits, therapy sessions, medications and even home medical services. The mountains of financial demands can and do certainly add insult to injury. Even with benevolent programs and government aid, there are additional costs that are not covered including special transportation, meals, and equipment. It can make the daily effort to open the mailbox feel so heavy.
Last week, I experienced one of those times in our family life. With 2 of our 3 children diagnosed with special needs, there is never a shortage of financial demands. Yet, before our youngest daughter had even been scheduled for a simple surgery, hundreds of dollars were topping the thousand mark before she even set foot in the hospital. Complications in surgery required an overnight hospitalization, and subsequent re-hospitalization as further complications ensued. The mail was not fun to collect, feeling the weight of bill collectors on top of just trying to keep our daughter hanging on. That is, with the exception of one piece of mail.
To my delight, we received a nice greeting card from my friend and colleague, Laurie Wallin, sent via an amazing service, SendOutCards.com. While the card had been printed, it had a heartfelt, personal message that Laurie had crafted herself. I was thrilled to see that in an era where everyone complains of being too busy, there is a way to let individuals know that they are on our minds in a thoughtful way with a minimum of time. And after all, who wouldn’t love to receive such a simple act of kindness in a mailbox otherwise stuffed with more stress and demands!
Friends, small acts of compassion have big impact when a family is dealing with less-than-typical circumstances. We tend to make ministry more complicated than we need to. What if we made a difference with the lives we touch by simply using such a convenient service or even having volunteers hand write cards? It’s a simple, creative way for the church to stand apart in an era where people no longer take time to extend such courtesies. Make sure those you serve are receiving more than bills when they face bumps in the road.
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