Saturday, 29 March 2014

To love at all is to be vulnerable

I visited an old bachelor this week. He was sitting disconsolately on his settee, gently stroking the lifeless body of Charlie, his companion of the last 11 years. The old dog had liver cancer and passed away during the previous night. He died on the floor of the sitting room. My patient had dialled 999 in the night and the paramedics had come and lifted Charlie up onto the settee. Likely one of their more unusual 'emergenices'.

Discussing the situation with the social worker, I was told that, "it was only a can't really call it bereavement." Oh really?

I'm reminded of some words of C.S. Lewis from The four loves, quoted in Paul Miller's superb new book, A loving life,
There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will  certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to be sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no-one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully around with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket-safe, dark, motionless, airless-it will change. It will not be broken, it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable...The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

"I must pray when I am well"

Some wise words from Joseph Bernadin in his autobiography The gift of peace,
I spent only one night in the intensive care unit. Then they brought me back to my own room, where I experienced the discomforts that one normally encounters after going through extensive surgery. I wanted to pray, but the physical discomfort was overwhelming. I remember saying to the friends that visited me, "Pray while you're well because if you wait until you're sick you might not be able to do it." They looked at me astonished. I said, "I am in so much discomfort that I can't focus on prayer. My faith is still present. There is nothing wrong with my faith, but in terms of prayer, I'm just too preoccupied with pain. I'm going to remember that I must pray when I am well!"

So this very helpful prayer from the Book of Common Prayer,
O Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us in safety to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP 100)

A message from the other side

No, not that side! But thank God got through surgery ok yesterday. And thanks to all for love support and prayer.