These thoughts are racing around in my head, crashing into one another and shattering…leaving only fragments, dismembered and dissatisfying. Images flash, faces and conversations…grief is a terrifying thing. But hope…with hope there is new life.
There is a wheelchair. I am conscious of a glint of sunshine, flashing off the metal. A slumped figure, broken body. She beckons me with her finger. I go to her.
“Something has died inside of me,” she whispers.
“Your hope has died,” I whisper back.
I think about the man. The man who spoke to us today. He told the story of his accident, at sweet thirteen. His life forever changed, loss of half of his family…he found hope.
He tells of how a nurse would gently scratch his arm with her long nails. Up and down, up and down. He says he will never forget that woman. He will never forget the ecstasy of that gentle sensation; when all of his body was in agony, and he could not feel from the chest down. He speaks of compassion. He wants to teach us.
“You can have compassionate boundaries,” he says.
I see the glint of sunshine flash off the metal of his chair. He says so much more. But my heart stops with this thought: sometimes we need to be touched.
She sits before me still. Shattered by what life has handed her.
I reach out to her and rub her arm. Tears fall, unheeded.
There is a man. His wife sits nearby. My breath is heavy between them. We talk about dying. And I feel something slip away. It is unnamed. But I know that it is what is left after years of loving and living, of watching children grow and watching them go, of sacrificing for one another and holding one another up, of hoping…
I can walk away. But they cannot.
I wrap my arms around a shoulder. I feel the healing power of this…this touch.
One by one, they lay their burdens at my feet. And I think, Who am I? I am blessed to share in these stories. I am honored to be present in this moment.
My drive home is clouded by the moisture in my eyes. The sky is so blue, the sun so bright. Time stands still.
I want to be home. I want to hold my boys. I want to be so present with them and ingrain the moment in their memories. I want to breathe hope over them, into them, let it fill up their beings until it spills over into me and all the surrounds us.
I sit on the steps and watch them play basketball. Soon there is a quarrel. Smallest one comes and sits beside me, pours out the unfairness of the world.
But I am still carrying the pictures with me, the images from the day.
So I just hold him. And he cries in my arms. Tears of frustration. Irrational, little boy tears that must be shed in the growing up.
I love you, I whisper.
And I feel it. The healing power of this touch.
This is what God made me for. This is my reason. To touch. To love. To have compassion that tears down the boundaries. His love for me knows no boundaries. Why should mine?