Every seven to twelve days I have an opportunity to pause for a moment and think about an experience that has taught me something about being a disciple seeking to learn the ways of the Holy. Sometimes the lessons have come through my dog Hannah, an experience with my housemate or through an experience at the hospital…sometimes it comes through the presence of family or friends.
The last week and a half, my learning has come from taking care of myself following a simple foot surgery. I showed up at the hospital where I work at 5:30 a.m. not for the normal pre-surgery chaplain visit, but rather for myself. It was I this time lying in the bed wearing the beautiful resort clothes that patients get to wear when they come to the hospital! This time it was me praying from inside out that the I.V. would go in easily, that the drugs being used to keep me happy in “lala land” would work, that the surgery would bring about easier walking with less pain in the future…
As each health care professional came in the room, I would tell them that I had prayed for them the night before that their care of me would bring forth healing. Most thanked me, but some seemed a little awkward and were quiet after I told them of my prayers.
What touched me the most was the experience of two chaplain friends and my housemate laying their hands on me and praying for the success not only of my surgery, but also for my vocation to walk the path of a pilgrim. Bill, my chaplain colleague for the last nine years, spoke the prayer and my friends, Robin and Marty, held the spiritual space for the prayer to rise up like incense.
Even a week later, I continue to feel the power of their prayer…its simplicity, its directness and its power. As I experienced our national day of gratitude, I drew on their example as I opened myself to a day of prayer full of gratitude…I sought to be present, let my words be simple and direct and then stood back and allowed my prayers to rise up like incense in gratitude for the Holy.