we are always the ones …

October 27, 2011

in Hospice & Palliative Medicine,Spirituality

… who decide when Christ is here or not …

I would like to tell you about something that happened to me that opened up my heart. A few months ago, my husband Andrea brought one of his patients who had cancer into our home. She had been operated on by Andrea in the fall of 2009 and she would come back to the Mayo Clinic for her checkups. The surgery had stopped the disease for a while, but it then resumed its course. During the following weeks she would fly back and forth between her home and Rochester to undergo chemotherapy. The night before she left for her home town, during dinner, she vented, saying, “I never had any vices in my life: I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I work out… I have always wanted children and I could not have them. I’ve always been a good person, a good Christian… it’s not fair!” She cried from bitterness; she would now have to go home and look for a hospice to help her to die. We invited her to stay at our house, but she declined. You can imagine how Andrea and I were feeling; we tried to comfort her, pointing out all those times in her life when Christ’s love for her had been clear and strong. It is so clear how we are always the ones who decide when Christ is here or not; we always give a measure according to our expectations. But we don’t see His presence that is always with us, even in the most normal things. That Friday night, I was struck by how easy it is to get stuck on the “be good” rule. Rules, even good rules, don’t save us! It’s hard to be faced with death and just fall into the arms of a Stranger. Who wouldn’t be afraid? What I need is a familiarity with Christ, as the point of my affection, that every day He may become more and more familiar, not in my logic, but in my affection, so that when my time will come, I will not feel like I am falling into the unknown. This kind of familiarity arises when His traits become recognizable in everyday life. That night, it was clear that our freedom is the key to our fulfillment.
Raffaella, Rochester (USA)

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