March 4, 2019

Weekly Reflection – We All Take Turns

Weekly Reflection – We All Take Turns

Have you ever thought about how we all take turns? This morning I began my birthday by having breakfast at a local hospital and then visiting a long time friend (we will call him John). John is experiencing the effects of advanced prostate cancer.  John had been moved last evening to the hospital where they will be inserting a feeding tube into his stomach. As we chatted, I inquired as to what it is like for him to be on the other side of the bed.

You see, John is one of the best pastoral care providers on the planet.  He has spent decades visiting cancer patients at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, but this is a different situation. HE is the patient!  John replied, “Allen, it has been the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.  You just do not know.” And, he is correct. I do not know, and I cannot understand what it is like for him. But I can still be with him. That is often enough.

Upon reflection, I was reminded of a saying I often use, “We all take turns.” Today you are experiencing difficulties, but tomorrow our roles may be reversed, and it will be my turn to be cared for.  Today I can care for you, and tomorrow you will be caring for me.  That is the way the world works, and that is the way Jesus would have us share life.  “Love one another.”

I often suggest to the one experiencing difficulties that, “You will not always feel this way.” That seems to provide a sense of hope.   I hope it did for John.

During times like this, I strive to remember that God is faithful. He is with us whether we are the one who is ill or the one who is the caregiver; He made us;  His Spirit dwells within us;  He loves us. And He loves us even when we are experiencing disease or some other of the traumas of life, times when we may be disappointed and even angry with God.

May His divine light illuminate the darkness we may so vividly be aware of in times such as those that John is experiencing today.  It will make all the difference!

Blessings and peace,

Chaplain Allen


For more reflections on suffering read, Suffering and Faith