Friday started off poorly. It was grey, dark, dull, and pouring rain. On what is normally my day off, I had nursing home services to conduct. May attitude to put it mildly was very poor.
I don’t always have a good reception in nursing homes, often the patients with dementia pose a real problem and can be very disruptive. I once had a woman shout at me every time I spoke, saying, “Shut the *(^%&^$ up, you don’t know what the hell you are talking about.” She of course was in a wheelchair jammed into the corner and it was even more disruptive as the staff took everyone out, removed the woman and brought everyone back. While it has never been that bad since, going to nursing homes is not really on my favorite list of things to do.
So Friday all I wanted to do was curl up and go back to bed, which seems like the only appropriate response to the weather.
Instead I dragged myself off to the first service. The staff were gracious and welcoming, and as overworked as they are, it took them a few minutes past the “official” start time to bring everyone in. I was happy to relax and wait.
The hymns went as they always do with a room full of deaf people, everyone singing at their own meter and sometimes to a different tune. Thankfully God commands us to make a joyous noise not a tuneful noise. I am always careful to choose hymns that are well known, but with people from such diverse backgrounds it is not always easy. And then something happened that simply made my day….
After the sermon one of the residents applauded. In over 20years I have never had one of my sermons applauded. I choose to believe that its because polite church behavior dictates solemn, silent attention to the preacher’s words, but that applause was such a spontaneous reaction that I had to smile. And the look of utter joy on that man’s face was priceless. Whatever happened between him and the Holy Spirit must have been amazing. Gratefully, I was in the place where the Holy Spirit could use me. Oh what I would have missed had I stayed in bed.
Then at the second service the person setting up the CD for the hymns was having obvious trouble, and the staff bringing in the residents were overwhelmed and asked if I could wait a little while longer ….. where did I have to go. Waiting was not a problem.
It was a small group and we all sat together in a circle and worshiped. There were glitches with the CD player, but it was all good. I was just happy to be there and happy to know that the Holy Spirit was free to work through me.
After worship the residents and the staff spoke to me about how meaningful the message was.
Really, two profound places where the response to a job I didn’t want to do, was overwhelmingly Spirit filled?
I realize upon reflection that all we really need to do is put ourselves out there. Even when our attitude stinks, like mine did on Friday, God can and will still work. And that makes me grateful. My day was changed and blessed and the days of the others were changed and blessed and all because God chose to work through me despite my attitude. Now if that doesn’t require an attitude adjustment, I don’t know what does.
May God work through me more often and may I grow to become a more willing servant.