We were waiting in the doctor’s office (again), sitting behind the check-in desk. It’s not a happy place, this center. It’s a frightening place.
An extremely distraught elderly man poured out his story to the insurance clerk. We sat directly behind him waiting, not intending to overhear his words. He went in for a diabetes check last fall and they discovered advanced pancreatic cancer. He apologized to her for not filling out the paper work in advance, but the chemo cocktail he was on left his vision blurred. He struggled to drive himself there. He was alone. He was doubled over in pain. He began to cry. He told her that he had served in the military–and he had been flying since he was 18.
Then the nurse called his name.
Every day I pray the same prayer: asking God to make me an instrument of His peace. Most days I don’t hear him. But, when they called this elderly gentleman’s name, I heard mine too – in my heart. I grabbed a tiny crucifix from my purse, tapped him on the shoulder and pressed it into his palm. I want you to have this. I want you to know that I’m praying for you.
I asked his first name.
David. (Derived from the Hebrew word meaning, “beloved.”)
The nurse motioned for him to go back to see the doctor. He leaned toward me for a hug – this stranger. God is good, I whispered to him. Remember that. He loves you.
But as much as I wanted to, as much as I prayed that day, I couldn’t will his pain away.
And so it has gone each day since that day. So many beloved friends and family are carrying loads too heavy to bear. And so I pray my same prayer — that God will make me an instrument of His peace. And I stand, listening, loving and praying … but I’m helpless. Speechless. Or my words come out all wrong, sounding trite.
My sister reminded me that it is not our Potter’s Wheel to work. As much we spin it around and around in our minds trying to solve their problems, worrying over them, we can’t fix these precious souls. It’s not our job. It’s not our plan.
But letting go seems impossible most days.
So this week feels heavy. The worrying kicks in first thing in the morning. And I have to try – again and again – to let go. Let God. But my mind is everywhere – and so it’s nowhere. How can I be an instrument of anyone’s peace if I can’t find it myself? Yet I know what I need to do. Find Him in the silence. Be grateful for the blessings I have, instead of tallying up the things that are wrong.
Help me get started? What are you grateful for today?