“When we are surprised
by feelings, desires, insights that are something
better and truer than we are, we are experiencing God’s presence
drawing us into union with God and with all others.”
ERE SHE WAS…back in the
hospital again. I sighed heavily as I reviewed my census sheet and
saw Mrs. O’s name. Hadn’t she been a patient only a
few weeks ago?
As I entered her room, she smiled and tears came to her eyes. I
reached for her outstretched hand. We spoke of her weeks of hope
and freedom from pain. I listened to the story of how her relapse
occurred and how the subsequent decision to return to the hospital
was made. Her doctor planned more tests for tomorrow, but today
was for rest, and for seeking strength and hope in the midst of
disappointment and terrible despair.
Somewhere in the course of talking and listening and crying together,
I prayed for Mrs. O. I don’t remember exactly what I said,
but I do recall praying that she would find the compassion, hope
and healing strength I so wanted her to know from God.
next day, I saw Mrs. O’s husband in the hall, and he told
me his wife was scheduled for major surgery the following morning.
Certainly not the news any of us had hoped to hear.
Later, as I walked into Mrs. O’s room, I was amazed by the
miracle of God already evident on her face. Quietly, she said, “You
know, it’s really okay. This morning when I woke up, even
before my tests, I had a wonderful sense of calm. I remembered your
prayer for me, and I have been prayerful all day. I know I am a
child of God, and He will take care of me.”
The peace in her voice was almost palpable. Clearly, her inner peace
had little to do with how her surgery might turn out, and everything
to do with a newly born experience of the love of God. Everything
about Mrs. O echoed the profound sincerity of her words. Surprised
and thankful, I prayed for the success of her surgery and assured
her I would see her the next day.
A few days later, we visited again. As she sat up in her chair eating
breakfast, Mrs. O said, “I guess we’ll always have a
special bond—you and I. Somehow, the other day, you had just
the words I needed to hear.”
She was right. My words, although not well-crafted or carefully
considered, had been a healing balm for her. God used our routine
yet holy visit with one another to relate His comfort to the depths
of Mrs. O’s soul. How is it that God at times uses words—simple
conversation—to accomplish such miraculous things as bringing
peace to a suffering heart?
But that wasn’t the only miracle born from our time together.
In the words of William Barry, we were indeed drawn into an even
deeper union with God and one another, as we each played our unique
part in this sacred moment. This was, indeed, a second miracle.
Thanks be to God.
CHRISTUS St. Elizabeth Hospital