On another visit, I went along as James*, a Hospice chaplain, met with Elizabeth*, a cheerful patient living in a nursing home. I followed James as he navigates the maze of hallways in the nursing home with remarkable proficiency, stopping to greet each of the patients that he recognizes along the way. When we came to Elizabeth’s room, her door was wide open and she rested comfortably in her chair.
“Hi, Elizabeth, it’s James from Hospice of the Red River Valley,” he said. “Would it be okay if we visited with you for a little bit?”
Elizabeth’s crystal blue eyes sparkled and she replied back “Oh, that would be lovely.” Then with a mischievous grin she says, “Aren’t you handsome?”
James blushes and he quickly turns the conversation back to her.
“How have you been doing?”
She tells him she has been doing fine, and that she is working on moving around with her walker. She makes us laugh with her tales of the nursing home, her family and the very direct and honest answers she gives us to our questions.
After visiting for awhile, Elizabeth becomes thoughtful and tells James she has always wondered something about God. James gently urges her to continue. “I want to know why a loving God would sacrifice his own son. I just don’t understand it.”
James remains quiet for a moment and asks her, “Can I share with you what I believe?”
“Yes,” she says, “please do.”
James explains it this way, “I imagine that sacrificing my child, would be far harder than sacrificing my own life. Would you agree with that?”
Elizabeth nods her head in agreement so James continues, “His sacrifice goes to show us just how deep his love is for us.”
Elizabeth pauses and then looks James directly in the eye, “Thank you; that helps me understand it.”
As James prepares to leave he asks if he can come back and visit with her again sometime.
She responds, “Oh, I would like that,” and I can see that she means it. James has been a bright spot in her day and Elizabeth has been a bright spot in ours.
*Names have been changed to protect privacy
About Hospice of the Red River Valley
Hospice of the Red River Valley is an independent, not-for-profit hospice serving all, or portions of, 29 counties in North Dakota and Minnesota. Hospice care is intensive comfort care that alleviates pain and suffering, enhancing the quality of life for patients with life-limiting illnesses and their loved ones by addressing their medical, emotional, spiritual and grief needs. For more information, call toll free 800-237-4629, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.hrrv.org.