Hospice inspires with heart wrenching love. I spent a subtle Christmas evening with a patient and his daughter. Arriving in the room, I was surprised to find two beds, one occupied by a young man and my obvious patient, a large African- American man. I would learn the man stood over six foot five inches tall, a Cleveland high school basketball star from the 50s. It turns out that what I assumed was a young man sharing the room was the patient’s daughter, asleep in the bed, choosing to spend her Christmas break from graduate studies with her father. She woke suddenly introducing herself, apologizing for falling asleep. The young lady overwhelmed me with a display of love and tender care that had to be witnessed. I was stunned, silently praying, providing a presence and witness as the daughter poured forth everything she could to bring comfort to her dying father. She held his hands, stroked, his forehead, rested her hands upon his heaving chest, talking softly yet with strength and determination to him, absorbing her entire being into bring peace to her father. The patient was aware, eyes open, fixated upon his daughter with a depth of love that only declares glory upon God. To be so close to such immense love imprints a lasting impression. The time I spent with the patient, I talked softly, reassuring him, imploring the fruits of his life were good for his daughter was amazing. He smiled with his eyes, tears coming forth. I will spend Sunday afternoon with the patient and his daughter.
Enlightened minds know that silence will be the language of heaven. Already on earth it is the condition for essential communication: “One word spoke the Father, which word was His Son, and this word he speaks ever in eternal silence, and in silence it must be heard by the soul.”
That is why the Psalm points out that language of heaven, both day and night, is a silent language, “there is no speech….heard” (Psalm 19:3)
To find again something of this hidden language, to communicate beyond words, is to find again the secret of the Holy Family; it is to escape from a multitude of misunderstandings, of complications, even of illnesses. It is open to oneself to unknown possibilities of intellectual, poetic, expressions of love. That is why St John of the Cross points out: “That which we most need in order to make progress is to be silent before the great God, with the desire and with the tongue, for the language that He best hears is that of silent love.” Andrew Doze, “Joseph: Shadow of the Father”