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Lives Touched at the Children's Hospital

Heidi
France

For the past five years my husband Samuel and I have made monthly visits to the largest children’s hospital in Paris, where we play with the children, sing them songs, or put on a puppet show. Our visits began after our daughter Marie-Claire was hospitalized for an orthopedic operation and we got to know the doctors and nurses and saw the need for cheering-up activities in the children’s wards. At that time, the hospital administrators and staff were the ones helping us. Now we are able to help them, not only by cheering up the children, but also by taking the time to listen and offer encouragement and counsel when staff members share their difficulties with us.

Every visit we also meet parents who are very thankful for every little bit of inspiration and entertainment we offer their children, and we spend time listening to the parents also, as they share their often traumatic experiences. Many say that they feel better after having just been able to talk to someone.

We once met a little boy who had a birthmark covering half of his face. He was staying in a corner, looking down. Samuel went over to talk to him and asked if he would like to have his face painted, since that was one of the activities of the day. He smiled and accepted. Afterwards the boy looked at himself in the mirror and broke into a big smile. Right away he wanted to go play with the other kids. When some of his family came to visit him a little later, he took Samuel by the hand, led him over to them, and introduced him. The boy’s transformation was unmistakable, and his mother was very grateful for the love and attention we had given her child.

Our puppet show continues to be a big hit with the children, but it would seem even more so with the parents sometimes. One father who came to thank us after our last show said that his nine-year-old boy had been greatly encouraged. A little shepherd boy named Nicolas had been the hero of the story we performed that day, and it so happened that this man’s son was named Nicolas Berger (berger is French for “shepherd”). Little Nicolas had been burned over his whole body in a terrible accident and had spent one year in another hospital. Both father and son were visibly touched by the puppet show story and took it as a sign that Nicolas has a very bright future, like the little shepherd boy who had been a nobody until his courage in the face of difficulties and his love and concern for others won the heart of the princess and he became king.

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