The Level

It’s probably fitting I’m writing this the day after the Supremes upheld the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. (All of a sudden, everyone’s an expert on the Constitution!)

Partisanship rules the day–everything from health insurance to the kind of car you drive to the food you eat. (What’s next, the weather?)

One thing I love about chaplaincy is the absolute leveling of all this. When you’re sick, you don’t care if the person entering the room is a Republican or Democrat, a tree hugger or a Tea Party-er, or her position on global warming.

Sick people ask: Does my life matter? Did they get all the cancer? Can you help me get some ice?

I had a visit with a boy patient the other day. He had a pretty minor surgery but had to spend the night. Surrounded by his family, the boy held onto a clear white board to write on; and a stuffed dog was tucked under his other arm.

He looked forward to ice cream to soothe his sore throat. Far outside the boy’s room, talking heads were debating Obamacare and what had gotten into Justice Roberts and what all this would mean for the State of Things.

Meanwhile, the boy lay in the bed oblivious to the things you and I fight about. He’ll get there some day. Meanwhile I hope he eats all the ice cream he wants and takes comfort from his stuffed animal and his family and others tender to his needs.

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