This past week I made my monthly rounds to parishioners who are in nursing homes or hospitals, bringing them Holy Communion and visiting with them for while. A woman in an Episcopal nursing home is slowly failing. she is shrinking down to nothing, is rarely awake, cannot speak or feed herself. She is surrounded by hundreds of people in similar physical conditions. I also visited a gentleman who is in a lock-down ward of a public psychiatric institution. He was, obviously, on his meds and was somewhat lucid (at least for him), but his surroundings are such that I hope and pray he doesn't recognize too well were he is or the conditions under which he must survive.
As I read John's Gospel this morning and Jesus' healing of the man who had been sitting by the side of the healing pool for 38 years, these two individuals came to my mind. For Emily, I hope and pray for a peaceful end to her existence. It is not much of a life, being curled up in bed all day, not aware of your surroundings. I pray that Jesus will heal her by bringing her into his everlasting and loving embrace soon. For Judson, who is a danger to himself and to others, even when he is on his meds, I pray that Jesus can make his existence not overly difficult for him to bear and to heal him to the point where he can live in the world again. Until that time, I will continue to visit both of them for there is no one else who does.
Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.