I looked at my dad’s 93-year-old body in the hospital bed, weakened suddenly by the stress of broken hip surgery. He was understandably tired, frail, and confused. His normally clear mind searched my face through questioning eyes, looking for answers to what his life would be like in the days to come. I imagined the next weeks and months—rounds of doctors and nurses visits, technician tests, weeks of rehabilitation, and the struggle for restoration. How could I convey to the caregivers and professionals what my father had been like just a day before the fall—vibrant for his age, committed to sharing his faith in Christ wherever he could, mentoring those younger, and visiting nursing homes. He was active in church and an inspiration to others.
Knowing that medical professionals are extremely overworked with patient loads that leave little time, how could I be a voice and personalize my dad to them? I whispered a prayer, “How, Lord, can I make him more than a body to care for?” As God spoke to my heart, I put the following answers into practice.
An advocate is a helper, a voice, and one who intercedes for another. An advocate provides the healing touch of words for the patient and thoughtful help for the professional. The Bible reminds us in Philippians 2:3-4, “In humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests, but each of you to the interests of the others.” My dad could not always share his story, but because I was an advocate for him, his caregivers knew that this was a beloved and special man— one whom they would be honored to call their friend, if they had met him under different circumstances. Why not be a healing voice for someone you love?