Broad Shoulders

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As you can see in this photo of my grandson Cadence and me, I have broad shoulders. The fact was first called to my attention by a substitute teacher who loudly announced it in my tenth grade U.S. history class. I was mortified.

These days, though, God often puts them to good use. Frequently, I find myself in the company of people whom I’ve come to think of as Distraught Strangers. And they often end up on one or the other of my broad shoulders.

Example: On March 28, our nephew Rob and his wife Shannon welcomed their first child to the world. Rich and I decided to stop by the hospital that afternoon. We selected flowers to bring to celebrate the new family and hoped we might have a chance to meet little Kaitlyn Rose and congratulate her proud parents.

Arriving at the hospital, we stood in a line of about 10 people to receive ID badges for access to the patient floors. We waited and chatted as the security guards issued the cards to those in line ahead of us.

As my turn came, a woman made her way to the head of the line. Thrusting her driver’s license at the guard, she said, “HERE it is!”

As he processed her card, she turned to me and said, “I’m sorry to cut to the front. My daughter is in the PICU and I hadn’t seen my son for two days.” She began to weep. “So I left the hospital to go home to see him and when I got back I’d lost my badge!”

I reached out to her. She lay her head on my shoulder and sobbed. She clung to me as I asked her daughter’s name and whispered a prayer. In another minute the guard handed her a new badge and she hurried off to the elevators.

Arriving at the maternity ward, we learned that Kaitlyn’s grandparents and great-grandparents were still awaiting a chance to visit with her. We congratulated them, had a nice chat with Rob, and returned home, promising to visit the baby after they’d been discharged.

And that was just fine.

4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:4 (NLT)