And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
~ 1 Corinthians 13:13
Today began with a phone call from a coworker sharing that someone I have been visiting has declined and isn't expected to live through the day. Immediately I began to think of my last visit with the person, what was said, and then thought, I sure wish we would have had more time.
One reality that I deal with each day is that every new person I meet is in the final chapter of life. I love how one of the nurses shared that our chapter with our hospice patients is filled with an unknown number of pages. Some chapters are long, and some are very short.
I have often wondered how different our lives would be if for each person we encountered we understood to be a gift to our lives for only one chapter.
For me, that is the reality with so many people, and what they bring to this chapter is incredibly important. I often think of this chapter as the one where unconditional love can be expressed.
Recently I spent time with a woman who claimed a "scandelous past." I must admit I had to smile when she made the initial comment, and then listened as she shared of relationships she had lived through and eventually the brokenness she encountered when those relationships were discovered.
Another was a sharing by a man who described his mother as a "tragic figure." He recalled sitting at the dinner table one night when she told his father that he was "worthless, and that she should have never married him, or had children."
My encounters are not always filled with moments that leave me hoping that the person can ultimately find peace. Some have, and are filled with not just unconditional wisdom, but serve also as a witness to God's unconditional love as well.
Each day is important, and each encounter a gift. For any of us, this chapter of life may be our last. Finding the ability to receive and give unconditional love is how we hope our chapters will end.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2018
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.