Praying privately in churches, I began to discover that heaven was my true home and that it was here and now, woven into this life.
- Lionel Blue, rabbi, journalist and broadcaster
There is a famous French children’s story about a juggler who offers his gift of juggling to the Christ Child. I remember hearing the story years ago and it is one of those lovely memories that have just stayed with me.
We often had terminally ill children in our hospice program. Sometimes they were dying from the end stages of a chronic illness they had dealt with all their lives, like muscular dystrophy or cystic fibrosis. Sometime newborn babies with hearts that would never sustain their little lives died in our program. One special child comes to mind, as much for the memory of him as for the nurse that cared for him. This baby was born with only a partial brain stem and the dilemma that immediately came up was between allowing him to die in the hospital or taking him home to be with his family until God called him to heaven.
The family chose the latter, and his parents and siblings immediately welcomed him into their family. The baby cried a great deal and it was hard to figure out exactly how to make him comfortable. The woman assigned to oversee the home care was as full of love and life as I have ever encountered in any nurse before or since. Her avocation was being a clown, dressing up in a complete clown outfit when visiting her patients, which always brought gales of laughter from both the patient and the family. They couldn’t wait for her visits.
One day she stopped by to see the baby who had been assigned to her care. He seemed inconsolable when she entered his nursery. His parent had done everything to comfort him, to no avail. Picking the baby up in her arms and laying him in her lap, she began to gently sway her legs back and forth in a rhythmic motion. He immediately stopped crying, nestled into her arms and fell asleep.
God allowed this fantastic nurse to know exactly what to do to comfort this child. She visited him much more often than one usually visits a patient, but everyone knew that she was chosen to be “a clown of God,” and He used her mightily in this very special way. She kept her clown outfit at her fingertips until he was safely in heaven just a few weeks later.