We walked down the hospital corridor, our eyes briefing looking into window after window of children attached to unnatural tubing, monitors and machines making all sorts of noises. My heart sunk a bit further with each door, and the air itself seemed heavier as mothers, siblings, and nurses attended to the beat up, morphed,
and sickly little bodies.
Before we reached little A’s room, we were told of the serious nature of the condition, and expecting the worst, or what I thought was the worst.
The 6-year-old boy had been put in the Pediatric-ICU thanks to a hit-and-run drunk driver crashing into him as he attempted to cross the street. A neighbor informed us the prognosis was grim, and that we should visit the family before they took A off life support machines.
I expected a limp body where a vibrant bouncing boy once had been. I expected crying relatives, and grandparents praising God to shield their pain. I did not expect the convulsions, the blinking, and machines alarming the nurses of his coughing up the breathing apparatus. Although unconscious, his body signaled the pain constantly running through his ragged bones and organs.
His all-too-young father remained by his side, stroking his hand, reminding him of the Spongebob he could watch if he woke up, and telling him he was loved. I wondered for a brief moment how involved this man was in his child’s life, and then I quickly knew it didn’t matter. The love in the room was deep, real, and unquestionable.
Brother Jim and I spent two separate occasions praying with the family. On the second day, we spent about 30 minutes in silent prayer as A’s father buried his head in the hospital bed, trying to limit the amount of emotion that could escape.
There we stood, gazing upon Jesus in his most disguised form. The Eucharist was not exposed on a pleasant-looking altar in a golden monstrance, but we certainly found ourselves in front of the Body of Christ. Although there was no incense, the air had a weighted holiness to it, as though the busyness of our lives was stopped in its tracks.
God was close, hovering over A and his family during his last moments, and the Spirit felt palpable. This hospital room was truly holy ground.
Brother Jim and I often find ourselves entering moments of intense and sudden tragedy that expose the fragility of human existence. And yet, despite the pain, these moments seem to hold the greatest sense that God is present, standing in solidarity with our suffering. The chaos of the streets, lure of gangs and drugs, and the issues of injustice that plague these communities all seem to evaporate as we stand in the presence of the Body of Christ, inherited to our own humanity. Even at the door of death, there is a flooding of love and grace, letting us all know we stand equal before the Lord, never alone and never far away.
Brother Jim and I are blessed to be witness to these moments where the human and divine mingle, and we feel the deep love that a suffered Christ continues to give us through the Holy Spirit.
–Megan Cottam, BSL
BSL needs your support! Donate today via PayPal: http://www.brothersandsistersoflove.com