On a beautiful Saturday in June, my three siblings and I held a party for my parents to celebrate their 67th wedding anniversary and my dad’s 90th birthday. For days afterward, Mom and Dad basked in the afterglow of having happily engaged with dozens of grandchildren, nieces, and nephews who came from all over the country because they didn’t want to miss such a joyful occasion. It was a wonderful day filled with laughter, reminiscing, and reconnecting.
Three weeks later, we watched my mom being taken by ambulance to the hospital, and two weeks after that, she was in hospice care.
In the months that followed, I witnessed the full scope of work in action. There are many ways that we use the word “work.” For example, when we agree on a date for a get together or a meeting, we might say, “That works.” Sometimes when events are unsettled, we pray for things to “work out.” And, of course, we do all kinds of work, including some that is done in exchange for payment.
This summer, my family worked—in every aspect of the word—to support my Mom and her best interests. As a result, I have learned just how important and powerful work can be. Thanks to the work of my family alongside the work of medical professionals, my mom is healing and out of hospice. The synergy between her health and our work became obvious.
The Healing Power of Work
There were some immediately obvious ways that work and career helped my mom in this time. In our extended family, we have three doctors, which was immensely helpful for all of us in understanding my mom’s situation and making decisions. They could follow her progress through an online portal, interpret test results for us, and help us to advocate for her.
In fact, the night before my mother was scheduled to move to a nursing home for further hospice care, my brother-in-law, a doctor, was able to have a conversation with Mom. He was amazed at her improvement and recommended another round of blood tests and a physical therapy assessment. Without his expertise, we would likely have continued hospice care instead of taking the steps to consider rehab, where she made great improvement.
All of these care questions also had financial implications for my dad. My parents’ long-term care insurance plan was through the same agency that my brother used to work for, so he was able to advise my dad about what would be covered and give him helpful contacts so that my dad could make tough decisions quickly.
Many Hands Can Bring Healing Work
While it was obvious how those trained in medicine and insurance could bring their work into this situation, those of us in the family with different skills, like the engineers, social media consultants, and teachers, were also able to work in other ways.
For example, my sister, an artist, spent three weeks with Dad while Mom was in the hospital. Instead of Dad wondering and worrying by himself, my sister was there to have important conversations with him. And throughout the process, everyone in the family, regardless of their career background, has been able to share perspectives, talk over decisions, and pray. God uses our careers, perspectives, personalities, and prayers for his purposes. Colossians 3:17 puts it this way: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” I am grateful for those whose professional skill provided us information and expertise, and I am also thankful for the indirect and yet critical support all of us gave each other. Whatever we did, we did out of love for my mom and faith that she was in the Lord’s hands.
My mom graduated from hospice care and recovered in rehab—a miraculous outcome in which the direct and indirect work of my family was instrumental. We continue to pray that this will work out well. Regardless of what happens, however, this has already reminded us all of the deep, God-given purpose of our work—purpose that can go far beyond any salary we receive.