The gift not taken

Her room is nestled to the right side at the end of the long corridor.  I walk the length of rooms, passing by all those who lay sick and dying.  This place houses broken hearts, one after another, all waiting for some miracle to rescue.

We wouldn't know she was sick if we glanced quickly upon her.  Except for hair thinned away by the harsh stroke of chemo, she was the picture of health.  The outside often tells a story different from what is kept hidden away.

Her smile spreads when I enter and we talk of her upcoming day, her needs.  We touch carefully on her illness and how it has nibbled away at the insides.  She knows what the tests show and how that dreaded disease is spreading further into the delicate parts.

She is fighting and praying she tells me, a warrior in her own story.  I am her helper, her healer and as I listen to her speak brave I feel the gentle request move upon me.  I am meant to pray for her.

I well know how to manipulate words on page, but the tongue has never worked to my advantage.  My poverty of speech has left me awkward and wanting, often with regrets of wishing I could edit my words.  It would be easier for me to write all of my conversations out, than to rely on the weakness of my mouth.  How many times, I wonder, have my cheeks burned red with the shame of not saying the right thing in the right way.  And here I stand by the bedside of a dying woman owning this horrible inward need to speak soul words into her life.

His Spirit is gentle and persistent in my mind, but I regret the request.  As soon as I know what is being asked of me I feel the dread spread over.  I think at first, "Please don't ask this of me."  I begin my list of excuses, "I'm not good at praying out loud.  You know how uncomfortable this makes me.  What if I offend her?  I don't really have time.  I know I'm going to cry, and I hate to cry.  You are asking too much of me."

And I, being one weak and delicate human, struggle to explain how all of my inadequacies are reason enough to be excused from the voice that is calling me.  I am Moses in search of my Aaron.  I somehow think I am capable of arguing with my creator, as if he doesn't already know all of what I lack, as if he doesn't supply every single need.

What I want is to edify in a spirit of obedience, but my inadequacies are feeling heavier than my desire.  I am small and he is big but I am too broken in my blindness to see us for who we really are.  My heart knows it will be blessed in an amazing way.  I know the reward will exceed the sacrifice, but fear makes my decision this day and it will never be revealed what blessings awaited me.

I walk away in a settled sadness.  I do not feel judged.  I do not feel that I have disappointed.  I feel mostly, that I walked away from some holy God moment.  Past experiences have made me wise to the gift of His presence, and my face falls in knowing I could not open myself up to give and to receive.

I think of her.  I wonder how she is, and if she is still fighting brave.  I wonder how I would have made a difference in her battle, and how she would have made one in mine.  In a sick and saddened world it seems we are all fighting for some cure of the body, mind, and soul.

I know this moment will come to me again.  On another day a fresh spirit will fall, and I will be called to some bravery of heart.  I hope to be a warrior that day.  I want to lose this life for the gift of his goodness, and the gain to my soul.


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