In my early life, I had caught almost everything contagious but never had anything seriously wrong to land me in the emergency room or the hospital. So in my first fifteen years of ministry, my hospital visits were not really grounded or informed by personal experience. Sure, I had my tonsils out in kindergarten, but it wasn’t until my late thirties that I was truly hospitalized for the first time.
On a Friday night I started running a fever. By Saturday morning I was taken to the Emergency Room, and by noon I was a new resident at Mercy Hospital. By Sunday night I had two or three doctors and one of them was my gastroenterologist. No details forthcoming. It was on the third day I asked my doctor what was wrong with me and he gave me the answer no one ever wants to hear, “We don’t know what’s wrong with you and we may never know.” As I was going to sleep on the third night, I began to wonder what if I don’t get better. After being in a hospital for three days it becomes challenging to remember what it is like to be well.
On the morning of the fourth day my fever was finally going down. After breakfast the Rev. Lloyd Taylor came to visit me. Lloyd was a beloved teacher and minister who retired and moved to Edmond and lived at what we now know as Bradford Village. Lloyd only spent about five minutes in my hospital room, but he listened very carefully. He said, “I know you are tired and need your rest. May I offer you a prayer before I go?” I no longer remember the exact words of Lloyd’s prayer, but I do know he named the fear he clearly heard in my voice. He gave me a glimpse of hope that I could not give to myself. Lloyd’s compassion and ministry of presence marked one of the most profound moments of healing in my life. The illness I had was never life threatening and long forgotten. The prayer Lloyd shared was life sustaining and comes to me every time I enter a hospital. Lloyd revealed to me the power of one human being to bear witness to another’s suffering and illness.
Where can you bear witness to someone else in their time of suffering or illness?
Life Giving God,
Make us aware of your presence,
Invite us to reflect that light to others in their times of deepest need.
Posted on Thu, March 3, 2016
by Micah James