I have been thinking, praying, regarding my last Hospice patient. Within all good intent I was disobedient. I perceive my Hospice calls will cease for a short time. I have the weekend off, planning time with my son and nephew with his newborn in Ann Arbor and Toledo. It will be a downtime weekend, rest and family. The Hospice calls I treat as the voice of God, responding without hesitation. The timeliness has been astounding. The last patient was the first time I took initiative, passively demanding as much time with the patient as I could arrange. I made the calls, setting up my visits on my own. I reacted to what I perceived to be the woman’s need, her immense reception of my attention overwhelming me. I should have shown patience, allowing God to call if needed. What if my lengthy touch upon the woman’s forehead distracted her in some regard, causing her to yearn for worldly things. I prayed authentically, discerning with care. I am pure in my motivation. The effort was conducted through sheer love and compassion, focused upon God and eternity. However, what if my touch negated my visiting with the woman according to the demands of God? These things are that serious. Death is that serious. I must bring absolute obedience to matters, comprehending my best desires are suspect to my imperfections and the imperfections of the patient. Another recent Hospice encounter from last week haunts a bit. A woman arraigned for me to sit with her husband while she went shopping with her sister in Akron. The woman, I perceived as older, and I easily engaged in friendly banter over the phone, discussing casual matters and my Hospice efforts. She called me twice. I assume she retrieved my number from her cellphone call log. That is against Hospice regulations. I said nothing, waiting until I met her to address the matter. Meeting her, I was stunned to be greeted by a beautiful Jewish woman my age. Engaging, funny in conversation, she showed me around her home, touching my hand while speaking. Sitting with her husband, praying, talking to him, it took all my energy to stop myself from imagining righteous situations that would allow me to further socializing with his wife. I spoke more earnestly with him, filled with shame. That one called for confession. I did talk to her over the phone afterward, informing her she must call the Hospice if she needs my service in the future. It was not proper for her to call me. I did enjoy my time with the gentleman. If God wills, I would return. My point is the relevancy of the post from St Albert Hurado. Let’s read some of it again:
The generous man tends to move forward too fast: he wants to restore the good and destroy the injustice. But there is inertia in both men and things that he must take into account. Mystically, it is a matter of walking in step with God, of fitting exactly into the plan of God.
All effort to move faster than God is useless, and even worse, harmful. Activity is replaced by activism, which goes to the head like champagne, aspires to unreachable goals and leaves no time for contemplation. A man is no longer master of his life: the danger of excess of action is compensation. An exhausted man easily seeks it. This is all the more dangerous when one has to some extent lost self-control.
The body is tired, the nerves are agitated, the will vacillating. The greatest stupidities are possible in these moments.