staring into the mystery

Saw Kay today, she’s dying. Liver cancer. Six months.

I took communion to her. We read the lines together from the Book of Worship. We ate bread, we sipped grape juice, recited the Lord’s prayer, trespasses and trespass, just she and I. At the end I prayed for her, for her family, for a sense of peace in difficult times, an easing of any pain and an assurance that God is near at hand. Kay was weeping when I finished.

Because I can be self-conscious and insecure, I wondered if the tears were because of something offensive in my prayer.

She kept crying but I said nothing. I just held her hand. What do you say?

For the last day or so I had been feeling peaceful, content, complacent. I even allowed myself a few moments to indulge in the notion that I was a pretty good pastor. My brief visit with Kay left me shaken, my self-satisfaction in tatters.

Kay dropped tears onto her shiny polyester pants. There is nothing I can do to stop her from passing, to diminish her pain, or even to mitigate her loneliness. All I can do is hold her hand as she goes. All I can do is stare into the mystery with her, and share with her my hope, my faith, that God is not going to disappoint.

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