I am convinced that my dear hubby has one of the toughest jobs around. As a hospice chaplain, he loves his patients well. With excellence, really. He pours his heart and soul into his job.
To the dying people Anthony serves, he is the hands and feet of Jesus. He shares the gospel openly and gets many of them saved, even as they breathe their final breath.
There is a fine line between caring for his patients, and falling in love with them. He tries so hard not to cross that line. If he loves them, it can only mean one thing–absolute heartbreak when he has to sit with them at their deathbed. It’s like losing a family member…over and over again. The heartache is excruciating, something that never gets easier, no matter how many times he goes through it.
He tries so hard not to let it happen.
But sometimes…it just does.
A patient will creep into his heart–and Anthony loves them dearly, just like a member of his own family.
This weekend we visited one of the loves of my hubby’s life. A precious dear who waits in anticipation for his visits. A sweet old lady in the final stages of Parkinson’s.
Mary can no longer speak, but she has a smile that can light up a room. Sometimes, when Anthony gets right up to her mouth, he can faintly hear what she is trying to say. Other times, she uses a chart to communicate.
Oh how she loved seeing all our children. She didn’t have to even try and say a word–we could just tell from her face that she was soaking up every minute of our time there. Such a precious time.
I left that nursing home with such mixed feelings. What a joy it was to spend time with Mary. But I felt such a deep sense of sadness at how many old people live there day in and day out with no one to visit. Just a few minutes with Mary made such a huge difference to her day. She felt loved and cared for, she felt special.
Life is short. Living my life to the fullest here on earth is so not about ME, ME, ME–but about finding ways to make OTHERS feel like they are needed and special. What an amazing lesson to teach my children. I pray that I can get it right.
How blessed I am to be married to a man who understands that the call of God is so much more important than chasing after the things of the world. He is right where God needs him to be–caring for the widows, loving the unlovely, and serving those who have very little time left on this earth.