Gn 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18
Backwards up the Mountain
I recently had an opportunity to climb up a mountain with a patient…only I walked backward up the mountain much like you do in a snowstorm. This patient was rough and ready. She had no or at least very little room for a chaplain. I would go with an extraordinary clinical nursing assistant (CNA)…who treated this woman like the Queen of England. My blessing was that I got to be the assistant to the CNA. She was gracious and would direct my actions with the patient, so that together we would care for her physical needs. Our patient was crabby and slowly allowed Ellen and me to not only care for her physical needs, but also get to a point where she would allow us to tease her about everyday things.
I got to a point in my work week, where this patient became my favorite visit. Perhaps it had as much to do with working side by side with the Ellen the CNA as it was seeing the hard shell of our patient open up to our gentle, steady care. When I heard the scripture readings for this week, I thought of this beloved patient who had invited change in both of us by being true to her own nature. I perhaps like the disciples went up the mountain haltingly…unsure what I could be or do in this situation. I have to admit that I have not gotten to a point where I want to pitch a tent…but I have taken home within me a bigger heart more open to hope.
My patient who has become my teacher for so many lessons started out to be my chaplain challenge and has now ended up as a permanent teacher of my heart. Her lessons have led me back down the mountain, face forward ready to meet the Holy in the most unlikely of places.