Sacred Space . . . Holy Conversations. . .

Share

chemotherapy-448578_640by Sherie Heine, Assistant to the Bishop – 5/22/2015

Psalm 34:17
“Is anyone crying for help? God is listening, ready to rescue you
.”

I have been blessed by my time spent at infusion.  Of course, the infusion itself is a blessing as are the nurses that care for me.  I leave feeling better…  It is the unexpected blessings, however, that take my breath away…

An infusion center – cancer treatment center – can be a place of hope or a place of dread.  One might leave feeling better or feeling worse.  One might choose to dwell in your chemo suite with the curtain drawn – shutting out the world with its noise and questions and looks…  Your world – for a time – is manageable.  Or…  one might embrace this community with its sense of knowing and understanding of the other – suite curtains open wide as an invitation…

Within this community, chance meetings and comparable schedules can – and sometimes do – lead to acquaintances that lead to friendships.  A sharing of space where simply being present – fully present – for another is indeed a gift from God.

A woman with an endless smile and bubbling laughter, she loved her life and her “kiddos”.  Noel loved school…  the children she taught, the parents who shared them, and her colleagues – her family.  Then cancer interrupted with chemo and radiation snatching away her school days.  Next was a stem cell replacement with isolation…  followed by more treatment.  Cancer was winning and daily Noel was losing this life she loved.  A women of deep faith, she shared it. She wasn’t worried about cancer winning…  she was worried about the fact that she looked sick and might not get through sorting through all of her “crap”.  “It just wouldn’t be fair”, she laughed filling the space with joy, “for my family to have to wade through all those recipes and shoes!”

“What is with this chemo brain?”, he asked as I was reaching for a diet Coke.  That was my invitation from Jim for conversation.  A man, who pre-cancer, I’m certain never sat still…  he rarely does now, actually.  But each week, the space we share becomes sacred as we sit, and he talks of his journey through the anger, the bargaining, the denial, and finally the acceptance of his new reality.  Jim fights on; I get the privilege of cheering him on.

I can still see his face and hear his voice as we shared a cup of coffee and caramel long johns.  (“They keep telling us we need to gain some weight, so I brought us a treat,” he would say.)  The latest issue of National Geographic, politics, his love of flying…  we’d cover it all.  We shared joy and laughter in the midst of beeping pumps and hushed conversations.  John and I shared many cups of coffee and long johns until eating and drinking were just not possible.  On one particular day, over bottles of water, my friend, John said good-bye to me.  In his now hushed voice, he told me he was so ready “to go” but his wife wasn’t ready for him to leave.  She needed him to stay but he just couldn’t – his body had lost the battle.  So, we sat with tears gently rolling down our cheeks…  his burden shared and me, reluctantly bearing it…

Sacred space…  Holy conversation…

I have been blessed to share both may you be as well.

Share
Posted in Blog