Monday, November 23, 2009

In which the Episcopalian anoints a Buddhist

Last week, I visited a comatose patient in the ICU, but haven't felt able to write about it. Even now, what I'll say will be brief.

The patient, R., has been the chief potato cook for several years at the Cafe which my university chaplaincy sponsors. About 2 weeks ago, he fell from his roof. He has, among other problems, a brain injury. Thus, during my visit, he was as though asleep.

Never mind that he basically considers himself a Buddhist -- I anointed him anyway, making a small sign of the cross on his forehead as I whispered a blessing. I've anointed comatose patients three times in this same hospital, but this was the first time that the patient responded.

As I lifted my finger from his forehead, R. opened his eyes wide, looked at me, and then closed them again. In those few seconds, I saw in his eyes the most powerful light streaming toward me. When his eyelids closed, the light stayed in the room. R. has had great support, and a steady stream of loving family and friends. I felt such a magnificent presence of the Spirit during those few minutes, it was all I could do to get safely back to the church, for my own steps seemed just slightly lifted above ground.


Blogger Castanea_d said...

This is great! May the blessings of God be with R. in his infirmity.

6:54 AM  

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