Monday I received a cold call from the local hospital, Kaiser Redwood City. The wife of an elderly couple was dying and the family wanted a local pastor or chaplain to come by and pray with them. The social worker (and you know I have a special place in my heart for social workers) knew the family was Protestant and we were the only “non-denominational” church she could find.
So, I went to the hospital. The couple was in their 80’s and had been married for 63 years. For the past 8 months the husband and his adult, special needs son had visited his dying wife, and for 8 months she hadn’t gotten any better. The 8 months of anticipation hadn’t curtailed his heartache as his tears revealed. And now I was with them. I was there to pray before he told the doctors the very last thing any of us ever wants to tell a doctor; that it was OK to let her attempt her own breathing, all the while knowing she couldn’t.
It was Holy ground.
I’m reminded tonight of all the petty and small things so many of us in the church become consumed with. It’s hard to miss pettiness when it rubs up against the beauty and heartache of loving devotion.
In these times I’m mindful of the simple power of love and that loving one another volunteers us for tears. Yet in the end, who among us would rather not have loved?