A story of hope

PRAYING: Oupa prays with the nurse to bless her and her family. (Photo provided by Andries Erasmus).

I had just taken off my work shirt after a long day when this message came through: ‘Oupa needs to go to the hospital’. I put my shirt back on and left immediately.

I found a distressed Oupa and Ouma in their pyjamas. They both hugged me and kept on repeating how they appreciated my help. The walk through the rain from the front door to the car was at a snail’s pace, although it was Oupa’s top speed.

I stopped by the emergency door at the hospital where l found a wheelchair. I pulled it closer to help Oupa out of the car and while l was busy, two young guys showed up to help me. Just when we had Oupa in the wheelchair, the security guard informed me that the car had to be moved immediately. The one young guy reached his hand out to me and said: “Oom, can l go park your car?” I looked down to Oupa and for some reason, it was much easier to hand my car keys over to a complete stranger, than to leave him there alone.

After I took him to casualty, l stood with his wallet in my hand, at the reception desk, filling in his details. The kind young guy brought my keys back and l thought to myself: “Sometimes you just need to lean on someone and trust them whether you like it or not. It might be with your wallet and personal details or your car keys. We are all vulnerable at some point in life.”

I couldn’t help but wonder: “Why is it so busy? Why are there so many people here?” A hospital is the worst place to be, no one WANTS to be there – even some of the staff made no secret of it. The place was so busy; groups of people were wandering around like lost sheep. I saw families huddling in the long, cold hallways searching for answers and wiping off tears. It was just another rainy Thursday night, but for some, it was probably the worst night of their lives. It’s a place where we are forced to ask the serious questions of life: “What if I die? What if I lose the one I love today? What happens after this life?”

l stood by Oupa while he waited for the doctor and he told me some stories about his days in the army and the second World War. Eventually, the doctor and nurse came to assist him.

Luckily, it wasn’t serious and they could help him quickly. After the doctor left, l helped Oupa back onto the wheelchair and on our way out he reached out to the nurse. He took her hands and asked if he could pray for her. He thanked her for her help and then prayed blessings over her and her family. It was such a special moment – his action and the smile on her face really blessed me deeply.

I realised again that life is so short, sometimes it knocks us down hard, but we should never lose hope. Let your light shine even in your darkest moments because you never know who it might touch, bless or inspire. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, strong or weak. Light shines from deep within the soul.

Andries Erasmus

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Monique van Wyk

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