- July 31, 2017
- Comments Off on Discovering the Virtue of Hospitality at Options Pregnancy Center
When Patricia found out she was pregnant she didn’t know if she wanted to carry or where she should go for help.
A friend referred her to a local clinic that Patricia called before coming to Options. The clinic receptionist was curt with her on the phone and refused to answer her questions. Patricia was given an appointment in two weeks.
It’s understandable. Clinics get busy, and there’s not enough time to answer everyone’s questions on the phone when there are so many appointments to schedule with limited availability.
Patricia understood but she felt bad just the same, like she didn’t matter. She went online
and found the Options website through a Google search where she learned that we offered free pregnancy verification and early ultrasound.
Two days later, Patricia was here, sitting across from me in the counseling room.
“From the minute I walked in, and sat on the couch, I knew everything was going to be alright.I started to calm down. I don’t even want to think about what I might have done if you hadn’t been here. Thank God I found this place.”
Patricia’s words really got to me. I needed to know why she came here and not the other place, especially if she was considering ending her pregnancy. What made the difference? What did Options offer that the other clinic didn’t?
“I was so nervous when I called, but whoever answered was easy to talk to. I didn’t feel like I was bothering her. She answered all my questions and didn’t rush me off the phone. Everyone is so nice here. I wish I could stay with Options for my entire pregnancy.”
Patricia’s words: easy to talk to, answering questions, not rushing, being nice, feeling calm spoke directly to Options’ commitment to hospitality, a virtue that plays a significant role in the ministry of Options and one that sets us apart from other centers or clinics.
Sure, free early pregnancy services and compassionate counseling are the hallmarks of our center that keep our appointment calendars filled, but I believe it is the way we offer these services to our potential clients that makes the difference.
Options initiates the spirit of hospitality (literally -love of strangers) in every point of contact with our clients. Even when women call seeking support services that we don’t offer, we will go the extra mile to offer them a referral and an empathetic ear because we don’t want to miss the opportunity to represent God’s love.
Women often remark how welcomed they feel at our center no matter what their disposition is toward their pregnancy. The walls start to come down once they know they are accepted and real communication begins. We can talk about what they are afraid to admit to themselves and we can help them hold their crisis up to the light.
Practicing hospitality is a gospel value that we take seriously at Options. We believe that listening to a woman when she is in crisis and letting her problems into our lives is the most hospitable thing we can do at that point in time.
Brushing aside our preoccupations in favor of hers, we share her burden during her time with us. As Jesus calls us to live in the shelter of one another, we try at every moment of connection, to offer that shelter to our clients, whether it’s a phone call, email, text, or person to person interaction, including a medical exam.
Pope Francis in one of his homilies stated that the church should be like a hospital on the edge of a battlefield. At Options we meet women on their own personal battlefields where they confront the polarizing forces of life and death. We are there at the crossroads when they are heavy laden and need to rest, to offer them a respite from crisis, and to offer them comfort, hope and a lifeline.
No one can say it better than the people who visit here and spend time at our center. I’ll never forget the words of Sarah, a young woman who visited us a few years back:
“The world has enough white walls and stainless steel; everything seems clearer when you can relax and feel safe and welcomed in an environment like Options.”
That’s the Options difference.
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. -Hebrews 13:2
* client not pictured