teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
~ Matthew 28:20
I will often write things in my calendar that stand out as "milestones," in my faith or work journey. On this day last year, I wrote this following a visit with one of my hospice patients, "Some of life's most difficult moments happen when you sit with someone who has lost the ability to speak, but remembers how to cry. That has been my morning."
It's amazing how our faith enters in when we seem to have lost who we are. So many times I can begin to pray the "Lord's prayer," with someone who has dementia, who without prompting, joins in at some point. I have sat next to someone who hasn't opened their eyes in days, and begin to sing a familiar hymn, only to realize that the person is humming or mouthing the words as well.
While our body and mind struggle to survive and function, our spirit is still alive and doesn't forget.
I often will remind families who are watching a loved one die that what we are witnessing is the death of the body, but not that of the soul.
We are complex. We are both fragile and resilient at the same time. We are so very special to God. Of course we would be created in a way that we find our way home to God as we take our last breath.
A few months ago I sat with a man who was dying. He shared of a heart attack that he had in a very public place. When he opened his eyes, he saw a crowd surrounding him. He shared that he felt that the people were there, not just to watch "some man die."
"No," he shared. "They were there, caring for me.
He said, "I was a complete stranger, surrounded by people who were trying to save my life. I have to believe that when I open my eyes in heaven for the first time, I will be surrounded by people who are loving me into eternity."
His view of life, death and eternity, brought him comfort, and he recognized that his soul would continue on. "Oh yeah, and we get a new body at some point. I'm ready. This one is a disaster!"
I love the idea that our soul "never forgets." It is the very thing that helps to bring each of us comfort, even when our mind seems to have forgotten the most simplest of things.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2020
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.