I am so familiar with this prayer; it's one that I use often as a mantra while making the long walk up the tower stairs to visit patients. I hope that I come up with some words that might help, or at least won't hurt. I hope that God fills my heart with compassion so that no matter what I say it somehow comes out "right." Dang, that ego thing again.
Then I meet someone like Sammy. He was sitting up in the critical care area as I walked by, looking for someone with whom I could visit. Most patients on this day were intubated, comatose, sleeping so soundly that they snored aloud, or were dilusional. When I peaked in his room and saw him peaking back, I walked on in and introduced myself.
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He continued in this vein and yes, you read right: it was gibberish. Or was it mumbling? Or did I simply forget that he was on the neurological (brains etc.) critical care unit. I listened for some time, adding my "uh-huh," "oh...," and "okay." This generated more conversation on his part. Eventually, he paused, looked at me and smiled one of those left-sided smiles. I smiled back. We parted by sharing the namaste peace gesture.
A little while later on the neurological "step down" floor, I met Rita. Her long, stringy, white hair and deeply set wrinkles gave me the impression that she had lived a long life. I walked in the room and after introducing myself, she grabbed my hand. She began telling me her story.
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I know, it takes a minute to realize that this was the same language that Sammy had used just a few hours earlier. Her story was mezmerizing and filled with facial expressions. She grabbed her sheet to use as a tissue as she cried, wailed and expressed her concern. Every once in a while, I recognized a word. "...unafraid?" I would repeat back. Then she would begin anew. So much of what she was expressing to me was anxiety, apprehension and fear. As I prayed with her, she closed her eyes and when I said amen, she opened them back up and began expressing herself in the same way.
I noticed that one of her electrodes was sticking to her gown, not her skin, and she seemed to want me to tell the nurse. As I left to go let the nurse know that the electrodes were unattached, she called out to me, "you come back!"
I'm sure that the words of Sammy and Rita were perfectly acceptable in God's sight. I felt God's presence in my heart as I listen to them. I believe that God knows what was on their mind and through me, they were able to express it.
How are your words and heart meditations giving you strength, right now?