Hope Lodge

16 11 2010

I was surrounded by about 40 adult cancer patients.  Many were bald or had head scarves or hats on.  Most moved very slowly and needed the help of a walker or cane.  Some were very upbeat and positive.  Some were discouraged and seemed to know they didn’t have many more days left on earth.

On Monday, November 15, I had the privilege of participating in a group dinner for residents of Hope Lodge—the adult equivalent to the Ronald McDonald House (RMDH).  (Read about my experience:  The Blessing of Cooking for Strangers.)

A little background first.  Hope Lodge was begun by the American Cancer Society (ACS) to “offer cancer patients and their families a free, temporary place to stay when their best hope for effective treatment may be in another city.”  The Hope Lodge in Nashville has 42 rooms, and there is usually a wait list.  Like the residents of the Ronald McDonald House, some stay for months at a time during their treatments.  Others stay for just a few days at a time.  There are 30 Hope Lodges around America.

This was a much bigger project than the RMDH.  There were 15 volunteers—strangers to one another—who came together to provide a home-cooked meal for these patients.  Unlike the RMDH, groups are not knocking down the doors to provide a meal.  Other than the twice-monthly meal that Hands On Nashville coordinates (the group I was with), the Hope Lodge residents don’t get a home-cooked, free meal very often.

Their gratitude was overwhelming to me.  Such a simple act—providing a warm home-cooked meal—meant so much to them.  And a meal spread out among 15 people doesn’t even equate to that much work for any one person or family.

I left with my own sense of gratitude that my family is healthy.  I needed this reminder, that despite our occasional colds and allergy issues, we are very, very blessed.  I take our good health for granted far too often.

Finally, I left feeling completely refreshed after a long, busy day at work.  Sadly, I am too often exhausted and worn out after a service project, but not this time.  I’m not sure what the difference was, but I am grateful.  I am already signed up for next month.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

  “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

  “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
-Matthew 25:34-40

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9 responses

16 11 2010
Eveline Pardew

Beautiful! The Lord bless you & your family!
Eveline Pardew (Mark’s first cousin)

17 11 2010
fosseer

Sounds like a good opportunity for touching others lives, as well as our own. thanks for sharing!

18 11 2010
miceliale

This sounds like a really great service project.

18 11 2010
mistergunner

Your posts are always filled with great testaments of faith. Awesome!

19 11 2010
Hunter Schleicher

Your posts are always great reminders of how truly blessed I am. I really admire you and your family’s passion for serving.

21 11 2010
chasemor

I love those verses from Matthew. I agree with everyone else, I admire and am inspired by your faith.

22 11 2010
rodewaldn

That is a great way of volunteering! Very cool. I love the verse from Matthew as well.

22 11 2010
postonj

this sounds like such a great way to help other out. it’s such a simple task to do and not very hard on us…we should all be grateful to volunteer like you do!

9 12 2010
waylandl

I admire your dedicated effort to participate in service projects that benefit others. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

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