I knew the time would come when parts of my work life would bleed into my personal life. I cognitively knew the day was coming, but emotionally? I am so not prepared. Every day I can sit with patients and families, talking about death, talking about fears, talking about decline. So why is it, when faced with that same situation at home, I become a confused, tearful mess? Oh yeah, it’s because I’m human.
I can have empathy and sympathy for my fellow human beings. I can listen, support, encourage and challenge anyone who needs it. But I’m finding that now, I also need someone to do that for me. I need someone to help me navigate this dark path, looking for the eventual light. Simply, I need my own chaplain.
Now, I know I’m probably just overreacting at this point, with my mind pulled in a million directions at once, yet landing on no specific thing. I recognize that I want to get up and start doing, even though there is not much yet to do. Most of all, I know where all of this is leading, and I just want to fast forward through it all to the very end. I don’t want the suffering to happen. (Not suffering for me, but suffering for my loved one.)
This is when we are truly confronted with our beliefs about suffering and defeat. This is where we must decide how faithful we are to whatever greater power we believe in. This is where, in all practicality, the rubber meets the road. Will this faith carry me through or will I abandon it in a fit of anger and self-pity? Will I be able to reach out to my God with all of my rage, sadness, tears and questioning, or will I just turn away because, why would any god let something like this happen?
Over the past 24 hours, I have been praying…A LOT. My prayer is that God showers his favor on my loved one, however that favor may happen. Ask big, receive big. But I’m not naive enough to think that just because my loved one may still experience this decline and suffer, that God has not answered my prayers. God’s favor comes in many forms. My perception of suffering may be different from my loved one’s. Maybe the favor will be in that I will be more supportive and encouraging. Maybe the favor will be in this suffering being short-lived. In the end, I believe I know my loved one will be accepted into heaven – where there is no suffering at all. For now, I need to hold onto that faith. I need to trust that my God will see me through this to the light.