Dec. 2, 2015

Prop Me Up on My Leaning Fallen Side

I have served as a hospital chaplain for over twenty-five years. One of the most interesting things about my job is that when I walk through the doors of the hospital each morning I never know what I will be facing that day related to life and death issues. I never know what kind of issues I will be called upon to take part in related to my function on the hospital inter-disciplinary team. One afternoon some ten years ago I was called to the bedside of a patient that had just died. When I arrived and knocked on the door a voice from within the room invited me to enter. There beside the bed was an elderly African-American woman leaning over one of the guard rails on the side of the bed. This woman was silently weeping over the deceased patient lying in the bed. I stood there quietly as this woman tenderly wept and grieved the loss of her loved one. I noticed that the weeping woman had a walking cane lying on the couch. I was somewhat hesitant to interupt the tender moment I had discovered upon entering the room. The woman informed me that the patient was her aunt and that they were extremely close. I expressed my sorrow and asked if she wanted me to offer a prayer for her. She nodded and I voiced a simple prayer. What happened next is something I will never forget as long as I live. The patient's neice began to pray for me and for herself. She began her prayer with words that still echo within me. She prayed,"Lord, prop me up on my leaning fallen side." Here is a woman aquainted with being crippled due to her need for a walking cane. Here she is proped up on one of the bed rails designed to keep patients from falling out of bed. But what she prayed, I believe, had nothing to do with her physical malady. The leaning fallen side she spoke of had everything to do with her sadness and loss. Have you ever been is a place where you had to give in to the situation you could not control? Have you been in a place where your sense of loss was so profound you couldn't find the words to express your suffering? This woman found confort in her plea for God to prop her up on her leaning fallen side. Usually hospital chaplains visit patients and their family members seeking to bring some sense of comfort to them. However, the day I entered this particular room God proped me up on my leaning fallen side.