Holy ground, sometimes we get to walk on Holy ground. I love the passage in Exodus 3 where God tells Moses to take off his shoes before he comes any closer. God is asking for an outward symbol of an inward attitude. Hey Moses, make yourself vulnerable and humble, you are about witness how Big. I. Am. Once Moses realizes what this means he hides his face as well.
I feel like that a lot these days.
I walk into a patient’s home, into the circumstances that surround their death and I feel like I’m walking into something sacred. Sometimes it is terrifying, sometimes there is so much emotional pain that you can feel it strangling you, and other times it is SO peaceful as you watch that person get ready for something enormous.
I have cried tears of happiness, sadness and overwhelming fullness at least once a week since I got this job. There have been days of insanity; a patients eye rupturing, cleaning gangrenous feet, and holding an inconsolable sister after the quick passing of her only living relative. But, never in all of my life have I felt so connected to Jesus.
It’s crazy, because it’s not like I hear His voice more clearly, and it’s not like I KNOW any more about the direction of my life than I did before. I still have questions. Big ones. But I feel like He’s asking me now to take off my shoes and walk with Him to a deeper place. I see these people in such an emotional stage of their lives and something in me reaches out simultaneously to them and Him. Am I willing to be vulnerable? Am I willing to go there with these families? Am I willing to be humble and see the areas where I have been wrong?
One of my favorite families was a young Hispanic family from Mexico. The husband was dying of leukemia, and it was taking him TOO fast. He was only 31 and had three young children. During my last visit his wife sat in the corner reading the Psalms and weeping. And that is when it hit me. We were not made to die. The Bible gives us a unique understanding of death. It says that death is the result of sin, not the natural order of things. Which is why, no matter what, it always hurts when you lose someone. It hurts because you were made to be in community with them forever. This truth was highlighted in that moment of vulnerability.
Another of my patients lived at an assisted living facility. She was at an advanced stage of Alzheimer’s and no longer spoke. She would screech and cry to communicate. Her family rarely visited, and then they stopped paying for the room. It was virtually impossible to get a hold of them and communicate about their mother’s care. One of the nurses at that facility told me that she was pretty sure the family had good reason to abandon her in that way. Something along the lines of, “What goes around comes around.” The nurse suspected that this lady had been very unpleasant, perhaps abusive to her children. And I left wondering if I would wish that on the people in my past who were users and abusers, the ones who left the deepest wounds. Where I had been frustrated and angry at the family, I suddenly saw myself clearly reflected. Humility. Seeing oneself rightly and sometimes painfully.
God asks us to be vulnerable. He asks us to be humble. Mostly, He invites us to walk with Him on Holy ground. It’s an overwhelming privilege. It might be the scariest thing we’ve ever done. But, He ALWAYS gives us the grace we need as we Go There.