Today I was called to the ER because a woman was in great distress. Her husband had coded. I prayed with her, then her daughter came and then a nurse took us down the hall where doctors and other nurses were working frantically to save the man.
Someone was doing CPR. It’s not pretty, like on TV. It’s brutal and loud and violent.
After a few minutes, the wife said: Stop! Stop! Give him peace!
They did. Her beloved husband died, one day after Valentine’s Day.
Taking my own pulse in situations like this means I monitor my feelings. Today I was sad and fearful and anxious. Would he make it? I could see myself in the shoes of both the spouse and the daughter, as my husband and father are alive. I could very clearly see and hear this woman’s pain. I saw the intensity in the faces of the staff. I was afraid.
As I monitored my feelings, I also knew I had to act. I had to minister in some way. For me, today, it meant praying for the woman and her daughter; holding the widow’s hand and at times rubbing her head; and giving thanks for the medical personnel who worked hard for this man and his family.
My own feelings don’t go away, necessarily, but once named they don’t seem to hold as much sway and I can better stand with a person in her pain.
Every situation is different. I don’t always monitor well. Sometimes in my monitoring, I get too fixated on one thing or another. Or I get distracted. When I am overly anxious, I can get chatty and disruptive, and of no service.
Sometimes things click and I can’t explain why. The Holy is like that, working both through me and despite me. It’s not about me, and yet I get to have a role.
A privilege, no doubt.