A Blessing within a Blessing
When I first became a minister in MSIA, I was shortly unemployed right after it. During this challenging time for me I volunteered to minister in the oncology ward of Botsford Hospital in Farmington Hills, Michigan.
Working in accord with the pastoral department, I was given free rein on the wards. Most of the patients were suffering from serious cancers and cancer related disorders (these were mostly AIDS patients with Karposi’s sarcoma, but even then they were isolated from other patients). I went to the hospital at all different kinds of times. Morning, afternoon, evening or weekends. That way my presence wouldn’t be expected and I could attune myself to whatever Spirit directed to do.
I met truly wonderful souls. I recall one feverish man saying to me, “I knew you would come.” It brought tears to my eyes for whoever I was to that man at that moment it was perfect for him. Another was a woman who refused to die when the doctors told her family she would die. She told me from under her blankets, out of which she refused to come, “make them go away. I am not dying.” She waited four months and died on Valentine’s Day. She never came out from under those covers, either.
In my capacity as both minister and hospice volunteer I learned many things. One, I learned that women, at least on the inside, are often stronger than men and face death with a great dignity and often with humor. One woman named Marie, who had grown up in the logging towns of Northern Michigan and was a lumber worker herself, was dying of lung cancer. She never complained. Not once. And every time I talked to her she would tell what a great life she had had. “I smoked, I drank, I danced…what more could you ask for?” she said. I was, to say the least, blown away.
But the woman who I remember the most was a corpulent black woman in her late 30’s. When I entered her room I noted she was being fed iv’s from four tubes. One in each thigh and one in each arm. Her “sisters” were like angels tending to her every need. Not one sour face existed among them. No tears, just praises to Jesus. I went to the woman and saw a radiant beautiful face. She looked at me as I took her hand and said, “It is a blessing, it is all a blessing.” I could hardly hold back the tears welling up from my throat and coming into my eyes. She squeezed my hand and I asked her if there was anything I could do for her. She squeezed back and said, “No, Jesus sent me these angels and He is my Savior.”
Well, that did it. My heart burst open (as it is now even in writing this) and I felt as if I were in the presence of a spiritual giant. It was I who was being blessed as well. I stood in awe and walked away silently holding and calling in the Light (something I did for all the patients, as well as planting Light Columns in the rooms).
I came back the next day and found she had died. The nurses praised her and said she never stopped smiling, right up to the end.
As I stood reflecting on her, I realized I was shown something unique. I had seen surrender, complete surrender and trust. It is not something that has come easily to me, though I work towards it more and more. Surrender. Contemplate it. To give over to God completely and in loving. To not know fear, anxiety or dread, but to stand in our own heart and really let go and let God. To feel the threads of negativity we hold just shred out of us and dissolve before us as a veil being lifted till we see Jesus standing there before us.
Whenever I reflect on this event, I experience as the blessing that keeps giving because she gave me the blessing within the blessing: surrender.
In Loving Light,
John Kadela, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA