Monday, August 31, 2009

horrible honor

I stood in the Neuro ICU with my arm around a lady I had met 40 minutes earlier.  Together we watched as her friend told her husband goodbye.  She was weeping and petting him, telling him that she loved him and wasn't ready for him to leave.  The friend and I watched as the lines on the monitor straightened out and the beeping stopped.  We cried quietly for the pain that was palpable in that room. "This is horrible,"  she sniffed.  "How often do you have to do this?"  "This is my third death tonight"  I whispered.  She was shocked. "You do this every day?  You chose this?"

I didn't know what to say.  What is the answer in those dark moments?  I did choose it, but I had no idea....?   I didn't choose it,  I was called to it?    I have no choice but to hang on until I can head home?

It IS horrible.  I never imagined the frequency of death or violence that such a large hospital hosts. can I explain the experience of standing with another human in those thin moments where life changes forever, hearts are broken and love is intense.  How can I convey the honor of being, holding, and crying with someone in those moments of pain and need.

It is a horrible honor.  And for this year at least, it's our horrible honor.

He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.  Psalm 91:15

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