by April Terry (personal blog http://faithwarming.blogspot.com)
I took a solo trip last weekend to support a friend of mine as we honored the recent passing of her father. Although we hadn’t seen each other for seventeen years, there was a beautiful sister-like relationship rekindled on the trip that will always make me happy for having taken the time to make that trip. We had a lot of time to make up and a lot stories to swap, but ultimately, we parted Sunday evening with a promise from both of us to stay in close touch for the future.
My friend is a nurse and in one of our conversations, she told me a story about a particularly difficult experience she had assisting in the emergency C-section of a woman whose baby was lost. After the baby was lost, she was left alone in the room with the woman, who started hemorrhaging because of an embolism caused by the amniotic fluid. 85% of the women who develop this condition don’t make it. She told me how she started IV lines as quickly as possible which created a cocktail of drugs that basically left the woman paralyzed. Although she was paralyzed, she kept telling the woman her own name and telling her that she was going to be okay. Over and over she repeated her own name to her, reassuring her, and although the woman couldn’t respond, my friend felt that she understood. The next morning, when she looked for the woman not knowing if she would find her alive, she peeked her head into the room and heard her own name crying out from the lips of her patient. She and the whole family wept. I cried just listening to my friend telling the story.
Just because people can’t respond or don’t make any sound, doesn’t mean they can’t hear or understand. They are often quite aware. My friend reminded me of that with her story, and I was reminded of it again today when I caught the eyes of a woman in our first service. She looked intently at me and instead of looking away, I sent her love from my eyes to hers. I gave her a stare right back intended to tell her that she was loved, cared for, and treasured. After only a few moments, the woman started to make a noise that sounded like something between laughter and a sob.
We tend to reserve our tender moments for those who are aware of us and who can respond back, but there are people who can’t. They are locked behind their eyes, forced to listen to us, but unable to be listened to. Sometimes, I just give those folks my time. I think it’s something that they rarely get from others. Oh, they likely have people who will talk to them and ramble on occasionally, but they often don’t have anyone who will try to understand what’s hiding behind their eyes. They don’t often get recognized or acknowledged at all. Later, when I approached the woman, she did something amazing. She struggled to lift her left arm up to my face. I think she wanted to thank me for understanding her.
Through my experience in ministry, I am learning that love is something that we do through the spirit. It can’t always be said or heard. It’s sometimes pure awareness, more of a sensing of one soul to another. The body will betray us at times, but the core of us still wants the same things that we wanted before our body betrayed us. That’s why I try to remind myself to not be blind to those in a wheelchair, to not let people be invisible just because they aren’t what most of us would call normal. In this case, I guess, it’s best that love is not blind but rather that it sees beyond the physical, beyond the infirmity, and straight into the soul.
August 20th, 2012 · 1 Comment
Categories: DE Thoughts