The Welcome Mat reads...HOPE!

It is virtually impossible to find someone who has not been affected by the thread of cancer in some form or fashion. I don't know of anyone in my immediate circle that doesn't know someone who has faced this disease. Even though it has been more than 20 years, watching my Grandfather's, who were salt of the earth, strong, hardworking men, wither & eventually succumb to cancer left an indelible mark on me. I was face to face with the real fragility of life.

The humbling privilege I have of working as a weekend manager at the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge is a complete God thing. I would have never sought out a job like this one on my own. Yet, I cannot explain the peace that comes over me when I walk into this building. It is almost other worldly. In this job I have learned what grace is. I know that I don't get a portion of grace to store up, but I only receive grace when I need it most. I still struggle with the thought, "am a doing a good job?" But, I do that in any job.

We all thrive on being heard, understood, & appreciated. We want to have some sort of value in this world - to know we have mattered to someone along the way. I love talking to the guests. Just this morning I sat down with a beautiful couple & we talked about a topic dear to my heart - young children. In that moment the stress & worry left all three of us & we just were able to sit, drink coffee, & share our narratives with each other.

If I believe that each human being was created by the Loving Creator, which I do, then what amazing worth they have. I slow down when I'm here. I listen more. I am conscientious of what I am saying and doing! God speaks to me in this place. He tenders my heart for Him & for others. As much as I hope I am being salve to the guests at the Hope Lodge, they are salve to me. There is a great joy that happens when you quiet down, stop for a moment, & think of others before yourself. This has nothing to do with me, but everything to do with a touch of providence.

There is also irony in the fact that I work at the Hope Lodge. For years I had searched for a way to work with the people of rural KY. I love Appalachia. My heart for the people in these communities is so deep. I know it doesn't come from me. Many of our guests are from rural KY. They come to a large city, for them anyway, & are scared, frightened, & unsure. God in His infinite wisdom is allowing me to minister to the people I have such a heart for. What are the odds of that? I am humbled & amazed at how we think our lives are going to turn out & what really is. This is a journey I would never have chosen for myself. It takes me out of my comfort zone. But, in that it makes  the journey so much sweeter. Courage isn't the absence of fear, but doing something even though you are afraid.

It helps to have amazing people to work for & with. I love having community around me. People who have passion & drive for something more than the bottom dollar. Those that will come alongside of you when you are struggling & help lift you up, not watch you drown. The tireless efforts of these individuals & the character they display does not go unnoticed. Knowing people have got your back, before they even really have the chance to know you, is a rare gift. I don't know how to fully express in words what this means to me.

The American Cancer Society Hope Lodge is an amazing institution, with amazing people behind it, who are striving each and every day to care for the hurting. Our guests, bar none, are the best part of what we do. It is something you cannot fully understand until you are here. It is a gift to see the face of hope each & everyday!

So, dust off your shoes on the welcome mat, come on in, & know your are home in this HOPEfilled Lodge!

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