Friday, 10 August 2007
Down to earth
Well this week has gone a lot better then the last. In tiny glimpse like moments I have found satisfaction and enjoyment in my job. I have had little epiphanies of God that have been down to earth yet profound.
I had a moment today when a guy from our ward was being discharged. This guy is a long term abuser of alcohol who has had multiple admissions with the same old story. This time things got a bit more serious for him and he came in with a serious bleed. It took him a while to recover and so he became a well known resident on the ward. He would get agitated on a daily basis and security were called on many occasions, as was I to administer some sort of "calming" effect....sedatives!
Anyway today my consultant told me to discharge him. I wrote his letter and he got his plastic bags of inpatient belongings to take with him. I met him on the corridor on his way out and I was struck with an overwhelming burden for him. He seemed to have so little hope, given a two day supply of a drug for withdrawal and then what? Wouldn't he despite his promise to abstain return to his old ways? I realised that during his two week stay he had not one visitor. Can you imagine that? He was in that ward all that time without one person coming to see if he was OK, no one to bring him lucozade or grapes.
Where would he go? What would happen to him when he took his next drink? Who would be there if he got sick again? What would happen if he knew about Jesus...would he change? Would Jesus care about his sin or would he just take him home?
I think we know the answer to the last question.
I am Jesus to this guy. I may be the only person he will ever meet that will smile the love of Jesus into his soul. While I treated him with tenderness and compassion I did not dream of taking him home.
A step too far? Beyond the call of duty? Dangerous? Ridiculous?
If Jesus Christ (the person I am supposed to imitate) was standing in that corridor watching that guy hobble into a world of hopelessness with nothing more than two plastic bags full of stuff I know he could not have refrained from intervening, offering a lift, a shelter, hope. Jesus was never just moved with compassion on the inside he moved by compassion, reached out his arms across social and political boundaries and transformed the lives of the least.
I had a similar experience on Saturday in Starbucks. I was there with my friends trying to chill out on my day off. This guy was sitting beside me who was clearly intoxicated, this was made more apparent by the large bottle of vodka that he brought out of his bag every now and then to top up his coffee. He chatted to me a bit, not much of it made sense but I felt an affection towards him. He got up to leave and I realised that beside the chair was a bag of IV fluids that he had just removed from his arm....obviously an absconder from A$E and by the look of him a liver disease candidate. He was young but weathered by years of self neglect.
I didn't offer him a lift home either. I did think about it but chickened out.
As I continue to ask God for a compassion and love for people I realise that i need to take steps and risks to unleash that compassion into action. Where is the line between radical and ridiculous? Is there a line? or are the two words synergistic, better together than alone. I often think it makes for healthy spirituality when we provoke a tut tut for time to time. Perhaps if we met Jesus we wouldn't like or respect him much. His hobbies and company may cramp our style.
Mundane life can provoke some extremely profound truths. It can lay bare reality for what it really is. It has shown me so far that God doesn't always promise everyone an easy life but he does promise us himself. To have God inside us is much more down to earth than what we can be laid to believe. God longs to dwell with the least. It is no surprise then that when we are full of God we are drawn to those that the world repels from.
I am challenged and praying that in the words of Foy Vance "when I see someone defiled I should look them in the eye and smile, take their hand or better still take them home".