This Place We Call Church Health
Today, Church Health has been open for 30 years. I am not sure that matters to anyone else, but it is a marker for me. I have for many years deflected praise for our work by saying “until we have been open for 30 years, all we have is a good start.”
Now I will need to come up with something else to say. I haven’t yet thought of what it will be.
Those words aren’t glib, though; I honestly believe we have had a good start. Someone recently pointed out that since we started Church Health in 1987, the organization is technically a Millennial. I struggle to understand what the characteristics of Millennials are, although I know that they will soon be the largest age demographic in America and they are the first generation to have always been tech-savvy. They would probably not reflect kindly on my reluctance to adopt email here at Church Health. At the time, I really didn’t understand why we needed it.
Technology aside, over 30 years, we’ve learned a great deal about the ministry of health for people who fall through the cracks. I know that that crack is wide and that we have helped over 70,000 people stay out of the pain it can cause through the work we do.
Now that we are at Crosstown, I am surrounded by people born between 1980 and 2000. I love their energy. Someone a lot smarter than me once said “you should always over-invest on the young.” I think we have done that, and it has served us well. Our young staff is always pushing us forward to find new and better ways to care for those who need our help.
When we first opened our doors, I was 33 years old. I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and in many ways, we have accomplished those goals. The beauty of now is that I never feel alone in that work. There are hundreds of employees, donors and volunteers who share in our ministry. It is a wonder to behold.
I remain fully energized to grow our mission every day. I still see patients through our walk-in clinic, and I am invigorated to serve. It is the only work I have ever done, and it has made me smile and cry all at the same time. Yesterday, a 52-year-old woman came in using a walker. She could hardly move. She had worked until three weeks ago when she just had to quit. Her hip x-rays showed a totally destroyed joint. There was just nothing there. Since I have now had two knee and hip replacements, I felt for her out of my own pain. With little effort, we’ll be able to get her surgery done without causing a financial burden. She should be able to go back to work. When I told her this, the tears would not stop. She only wanted to go back to work and not be a burden to her family. I think we can help make that happen, just as we have for thousands before her.
Today, I will see another mornings’ worth of people in the clinic. Who knows what God has in store for me and for us? What I do know is that there will be hardworking souls who feel desperate and who come to us. We will welcome them with open hearts and open arms, just as we have for 30 years at this place we call Church Health.