My daughter volunteers through a program called Footprints. She goes to Shands in Gainesville once a week and plays video games, colors and anything else the sick children want to do. Sometimes she holds a baby for a parent who is there with a sibling. Many times she just listens and try’s to encourage these parents who are worried and so tired. One mother told her she didn’t know how she was going to do this. Her son was starting his treatments for leukemia on that particular day. She also had a baby in her arms.
My daughter also shared with me how sad it is when she arrives at the hospital and see’s a butterfly on a door. Shands uses the symbol of the butterfly to convey to the staff and vistors that the patient is in their final days. This allows the family and patient peace and time to say good bye.
I was deeply touched by this story. I also wondered what kind of world we would be living in if we treated everyone we encountered at work, school and home as if they had a butterfly on their door. We would show respect, kindness and thoughtfulness towards them in our interactions. We would also have less conflict because we would give them the benefit of the doubt and let the little annoyances go.
I tried it the other day and the amazing thing about it is my day was so much better! I gave but in the end I received.
The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.
Shands has a volunteer program as every hospital does. If you are interested in volunteering there are numerous positions available for teens, college students and seniors. Just call your local hospital today.