Monday, August 11, 2014

Story of the day - Amazing grace to comfort the distressed

It was Mother's Day and I wanted to take her out and do something special, but she said she didn't want to, she was going to the hospital to see Clare, a quirky, eccentric friend of hers, who was dying of a brain tumor. Reluctantly, I agreed, because I was aware that Clare was at the end of her life and wasn't likely to live much longer.

So with anxiety I went with her, my wife at the time, knowing it was the right thing, but still resenting that we couldn't celebrate her mothering of our children.

When we arrived, Clare was in agony and my wife was upset that Clare wasn't getting more medication to control her pain. She left me alone at Clare's beside while she went to the nurse's station to inquire about what could be done to help Clare.

I, left alone, moved to take her place at Clare's bedside and tentatively took Clare's hand, and with a grimace and tears Clare said to me, "David, I'm so afraid. I'm afraid to die." I had no idea what to say, what to do, how do you encourage someone who is dying and afraid of it?

I heard myself say, "Clare, it's okay to be afraid. It's alright. It's fine." I thought to myself, That's the dumbest, stupidest thing to say. Is that all you've got? Jesus!

Clare, though, sighed, and relaxed, and settled down.

The nurse came in with my wife and some medication, took a look at Clare, and said, "She seems to be resting comfortably, now. I am not sure she needs this."

My wife looked at Clare and then at me and had a quizzical look in her eyes that seemed to say, "What have you done to soothe her?"

I had no idea and didn't know what to say if she actually asked me that question. But in fact, Clare was now resting comfortably.

This event happened 30 years ago and I still puzzle over it and marvel at how God sometimes works through us in strange ways when we least expect it, least feel capable of it, and yet turning it over to the Holy Spirit we become a conduit for a grace that we, personally, can't even fathom.

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