Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Praying with Patients

If I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. I Cor 13:1-3

She was a crotchety, complaining old lady whom I had been treating for a recent exacerbation of her illness. The unexpected side effects of my treatment had landed her in the hospital, and she swore she would not take any more. I was struggling to understand and help her, but she was as stubborn as that boxwood root I had dug up last spring to plant roses.

“I’m so sorry that you are having to go through this illness. I think we can help you.”

“It’s not the illness,” she said, “I’m just so alone.”

“What about your family?”

“They don’t care about me. They just give me grief about my sickness. “

“Do you have a church you can depend on?”

“It’s so small and they are all old with their own problems…but there was one lady who I know from out of town. I get with her by e-mail. She made a special trip to come and see me in the hospital. And she hugged me.”

Tears started to flow.

“Her hug healed me.”

How often do we give the wrong medicine to those who are suffering? How often do we use our education, intelligence and sophisticated systems to fix problems for patients or for those we love and miss the real picture?

Sometimes our patients, our friends, our children, our friends don’t need our expertise; they need our hugs. Sometimes it is not our toolbox but our kindness that counts.

Take a look today at those you are trying to help or heal. Which one needs a word and touch of kindness today? Do that first and then reach for your toolbox.

Dear Father,
Let me not forget your gentle touch when I reach out to those in need today. Let not the rush of my day drive your kindness away. Please stay with me and touch through me.

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