Sunday, December 26, 2010

21st day in hospital

I was pretty down last evening and this morning. I began to question the value of my little conversations up here - how petty and insignificant they seemed. Then two things happened to lift my spirits again. First, a young woman walked in to my room today - she is a woman I have seen every day I have spent in ICU in every hospitalization - I have always said "Hello, good to see you," but she had never made eye contact or spoken back to me - she just restocks the medical supplies and walks out - OK, today she saw me and broke into a big smile and said, "Stan, how great to see you!" - she was literally beaming. I said, "Nice to see you too, but I'm sorry you have never spoken to me so I don't even know your name." She ignored my statement and said, "I love coming in the rooms where you are because it always feels good and I feel loved." I was speechless. Then after putting her supplies away, she said, "What kind of Christian are you anyway." I didn't even know she knew I was a Christian. I ask, "What do you mean, what kind of Christian; if you are asking what denomination I am I'm Quaker." She introduced herself and then proceeded to tell me a version of her life story and some of the places she is struggling. We talked for almost a half hour before she left.

I quickly saw that Jesus was undermining my little self pity party, and I began to regain my sense of mission and call that I know is solid no matter what the circumstances. Then later today Steve Fawver (pastor at NVFC) posted some quotes from Evelyn Underhill (wonderful chrstian writer and woman of great power in prayer). Here's the part of his post that so moved me.

"The Church is in the world to save the world. It is a tool of God for that purpose. Every one of its members is required, in one way or another, to co-operate with the Spirit in working for that great end: and much of this work will be done in secret and invisible ways. We are transmitters as well as receivers. Our contemplations and our actions, our humble self-opening to God, keeping ourselves sensitive to his music and light, and our generous self-opening to our fellow creatures, keeping oursleves sensitive to their needs, ought to form one life: mediating between God and his world, and bringing the saving power of the Eternal into time"

This reminded me that my delight is to open myself to others, keeping their needs in mind and seeing myself as a mediator between them and the divine. What calling could be more of an honor than that? Then my mind flashed to that wonderful passage in 2 Cor. 2

14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task?

"OH God, may I be the aroma of life through you while I am held captive here by my own body." A few days ago I proclaimed triumphantly that Jesus is always here. Always. That is so true, but its true that Jesus is always here for everyone, not just me...for this woman with all her struggles...for my roommate who was dying of aids...for everyone. And the witness (aroma) of Jesus is obvious whether we speak or not. It is not us who are charged with saving the world but Christ in us. Cool eh?

Thanks be to God for God's wonderful grace and power...for God's relentless pursuit of the heart and soul of every living being...for the Divine Light by which we order our worship, or business, our ministry, our very lives.

1 comment:

MrsD said...

Stan, you may not remember me, but I was at Reedwood while you were there and have been following your blog. I'm so glad that you have been experiencing God's presence so deeply in the midst of your, I'm sure, very frustrating stay in the hospital. I just prayed for you and will pray for you. Thank you for taking the time to share. I wanted you to know that people do read your blog and do find it meaningful! Jill Heiken Donnelly