Monday, August 9, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
Let me paint you a picture of an experience I had this weekend.
As you enter the silent room you notice a name placard off to the right: Dale Duffin it reads. The tall, broad shouldered, heavyset man must be Dale. His physical state and the memoirs surrounding him tell a colorful and elaborate story. His withered and wrinkled face and white hair doesn’t surprise you. Neither do the magazines, bulletin board pictures, food wrappers, and scattered paperwork. As you round the bed however you notice a VFW hat that says Vietnam across the front. You are also surprised by the tattoo just above his left bicep. Dale coughs loudly, rattling his overweight yet weary body.
The attendant asks him if he would like to partake of the sacrament and he acknowledges with a nod. Since you hold the tray with small plastic cups of water, and that comes second, he reaches slowly and deliberately towards the rectangular metal tray your companion holds. As his large weathered hands over shadow the small stale piece of wheat bread you see long yellow fingernails. Following the now pinched broken bread to his mouth you see a dull glow of peace in his eyes. “This man is a follower of Jesus,” you think, “His partaking of the sacrament today is simply a brief moment in many years filled with faithfully living.” As he slowly chews you ponder the lightness and possible disrespect with which you often partake the sacrament. You can comfortably and easily reach out your hand and quickly chew this sacred emblem. You can even do it at a proper sacrament service surrounded by many other saints, not here in this small private room, prone on your back, accompanied only by pictures of the ones you love. Dale continues to chew.
Moments later he reaches out again, this time towards you. His hand shakes as his fingers surround the clear plastic. His hand begins to slowly return to his parched lips – moving ever so slowly so he wouldn’t spill. His lips pucker out reaching, almost longingly as it seems, for the “living water” just outside of reach. The difficulty with which the cup finally reaches his lips is agonizing and yet inspiring. You wonder if you put forth as much spiritual effort as he does physical. As you respectfully excuse yourself from the room you wish Dale a “Good Sabbath.” Although his body is riddle with pain and weariness, the emblems of Christ’s sacrifice consume Dale’s spirit bringing him peace for another day.