Archive for Prayer

Dying in the Middle Room

a renovated suburban house with several rooms...

A renovated suburban house with several rooms…

The patient was restless.

An ambulance brought her to our hospice’s home—a renovated suburban house with several rooms—for pain management. She was also close to death. The only local family for the seventy-something woman was a granddaughter, overwhelmed by raising her kids and trying to be her grandmother’s caregiver. The patient’s siblings had already died. The patient’s daughter was, again, in rehab. A son, an Army officer, was traveling from somewhere in Europe, hoping to see his mother before she died.

[For disclaimer, click here.]

Right now, in the hospice home, in the middle room with its two beds, there was only the dying, restless patient, a nurse, the doctor, and the chaplain. One bed was empty. But the second bed, where the patient lay, shifted with her unsettled body, with her soft random moaning, with her eyes opening and closing. Read More →

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Loving Kindness

woman-praying-the-dalai-lama-at-prayer-bell-buddhism-compassion-dorje-kindness-677786May I be at peace.
May my heart remain open.
May I realize the beauty of my own true nature.
May I be healed.
May I be a source of healing for this world.

May you be at peace.
May your heart remain open.
May you realize the beauty of your own true nature.
May you be healed.
May you be a source of healing for this world.

This is the loving-kindness prayer from Buddhist tradition. However, the moment I wrote “from Buddhist tradition,” I wondered if practicing Buddhists chuckled or grimaced. Would they declare the May I be at peace… prayer was never in their faith tradition. Could it be made-up and willy-nilly tossed into Buddhism by others, or is it a corruption of an ancient expression watered down for modern listeners? I’m not Buddhist, nor a world religions expert, so I don’t know. But I’m Christian and recall my sadness when discovering the “Prayer of St. Francis” (Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love…) first appeared in a French magazine published in 1912. In other words, likely not written by the Italian-born saint who lived from 1181 to 1226. Read More →

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Another’s Eyes

Book-and-reading-glasses-007We can never experience what another touches, hears, smells, tastes or sees.

I’ve been with friends that ordered a favorite dish at a restaurant and asked me to sample it.

“Delicious, right?” my table companion gushed.

Not really, I think after a nibble. If I’m polite, I’ll mumble thanks for the darn (not) fine cuisine. My taste buds are different than yours; yours different than mine. It’s the same with all of our senses. Variety, don’t they say, is the spice of life.

Or can we experience another’s perspective?

One of our hospice chaplains shared about her patient. The patient explained that he put on his reading glasses first thing in the morning to read the Bible. He’d done this when life was normal, and one day happily blended into another. And he continued his daily readings even as his days became numbered because of illness. “How I love God’s word,” the patient had exclaimed. “Every single day, when I explore the scripture, I find something new, something I can learn about.”

The chaplain, so she said, smiled. And then she—the professional religious “authority,” the paid spiritual guide and mentor for patients of all faiths—honestly replied, “I wish I could be like you. I wish I had your enthusiasm for reading scripture.” Read More →

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