It’s about you, me, all of us. This life.
“…all our stories are in the end one story, one vast story about being human, being together, being here. Does the story point beyond itself? Does it mean something? Either life is holy with meaning, or life doesn’t mean a damn thing.” ~Buechner
I run into life’s walls and trip over its speed bumps. I feel fear and react. I fall flat and usually in public. And occasionally I am unexpectedly blessed. The latter happened on Saturday.
I heard about a friend’s brother who was very ill and had taken a turn for the worse. Someone very close to me called and asked if I could go by and visit. Of course. Everyone else was an hour away, of course I could go by.
I took my little bottle of oil.
I arrived to find tubes in multiples feeding, breathing, keeping a man alive. His wife was in the hallway and followed me inside, our meeting for the first time. Landiss is her name, from the German meaning picket fence. She’s certainly seen her days all in a row, tightly fitted together, a building of a fence around her husband. Fitted with a tracheotomy, she had become his voice. A voice that sometimes was forced to demand what he needed. She is stronger than she knows. She is tired, but there is a warrior within.
After introductions, I asked if I could pray. Yes was unanimous. Sometimes we just need to hear someone pray for us. I prayed for him, for Randall with oil on his forehead, claiming him as belonging to God, praying for every day written for him, and I noticed her tears and felt her weariness. Exhausted after 10 weeks in a hospital. I prayed with all my spiritual strength for her, attempted to speak encouragement and hope, oil on her hands that have caressed the sick and wiped tears. Those prayers didn’t fall flat, but were received by open hands. It was an unexpected holy moment. I wonder now if I should have removed my shoes for He was there.
I felt His presence in a way that lit up the room. His blessing was flowing.
I don’t know what His plans are for them, but I know they are being held by strong hands and big arms. Big arms that also hold this world together.
I was so honored to have been there.
He laid in the bed, she sat in the chair, and I stood among them feeling the weight of God’s presence and wondering about how fragile we are and how delicately He wove each of us together, and realizing that we are all in this life – we are one story.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer understood suffering. He wrote that we each are like a tree in a forest and how the story of each tree is significant, but that the story of the forest is the greater. He spoke hope into people in German concentration camps during WWII. Forests are made up of trees. And if he can speak hope there, we can certainly speak hope where we are.
I felt purposeful as I took prayers into that room. I felt God live through me so that another could be blessed. There is nothing greater than to carry His love into a dismal, difficult place that needs hope.
I asked if she wanted the oil. Yes, she’d keep it.
And all I had to do was say, yes, I can go by the hospital. All I had to do was show up. And we were all visited by God.
This is my first post without pictures. I hope you are instead visualizing yourself there. You could be the next one to speak hope in an unexpected visit to someone who needs your prayers. Watch for opportunity and it will be yours. Become open and watch as God Himself lives through you for someone who needs help holding onto hope.
(c) Robin Lawrimore, March 2013