An Elevator Party

An Elevator Party

Proverbs 12:25….An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up. (NIV)

The hospital can be a rather stressful place and many of the people there are somewhat anxious, obviously. So when Janet McSwain and I visited a couple of hospitals in Charlotte a few weeks ago, we knew our purpose – to offer encouragement and prayers for our confined friends.

As we left Carolinas Medical, we were waiting on a very slow elevator and you know how stressed people respond to situations that may require some patience. It can produce a certain amount of irritation on the part of the one enduring the wait. There was one man in the elevator area staring at six tarrying people lifters (or lowerers). He didn’t seem real happy. Janet and I waited a moment and she was okay with the silence. She’s a counselor and she knows when to talk and when not to. I, on the other hand, am a nervous wreck and stressed silence has to be dealt with somehow or some way. So I looked a the man and said, “I believe the elevator in the left corner will be our ride.” Janet, being the competitor that she is , picked up on my attempt at a lighthearted challenge in this heavyhearted place as she said, “I believe it will be the middle right elevator.” It was then that we took the big risk and asked the man in the lobby with us, “Which one do you think it will be?” There was a trace of a smile on his face as he pointed to one of the sets of doors. Soon some other people showed up. That happens in hospital elevator lobbies and Janet and I invited them to join the competition as we all placed our imaginary bets on which lift would win the race to the ninth floor. Soon the elevator arrived and there cheers as one of game contestants predicted correctly and won the imaginary jackpot. Then this group of newfound friends boarded the elevator.

The trip down to the main floor cold only be described as a party. It developed rather quickly as new friends were welcomed aboard at stops along the way. There was laughter and even some singing (I think. Janet may have to confirm this). We arrived at our destination as one person said they hated to see the ride and the party end. Another shared with Janet, “This is the most fun I have ever had on an elevator ride.”

Bob Goff is one of my favorite authors and he writes about being whimsical and lighthearted in his ministry to others and making the most in our efforts to share God’s love in rather unusual ways. Our elevator celebration was living proof that it is worth the effort and risk to speak to one or two or twelve who need a word of encouragement in anxious circumstances. Let me encourage you to get a party started somewhere this week and thank you, Janet, for the cooperation in our effort. She could’ve looked at the man waiting on the elevator and said, while nodding in my direction, “Forgive him, sir. He’s not well!”

Andy O.
(704) 300-0062