In which the Episcopalian anoints a Buddhist
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.