Photos, sometimes with Commentary, from a lay Catholic.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
I saw a man with his wife today. In the past month he has developed symptoms, undergone testing, and been told he has at least one, or maybe two cancers that have metastasized to other organs in his body. He is very uncomfortable. He experiences pain regularly, and it has gotten worse. He is frustrated because the specific cancer(s) he has are not identified yet. We will determine the type, and he will have a clear diagnosis with treatment recommendations soon. It's serious. On top of this, he has no insurance, and is unable to work because of his illness. His wife does not have a job and is busy trying to take care of him. They are both very stressed by their circumstances, and all that it means. We discover he has no insurance and reassure him that we will get our social worker and financial assistance staff to meet with him. We will treat him. We will help. His wife's lip quivers, and a tear quietly rolls down her cheek. He is trying to be brave, but breaks down and weeps finally. Now they both cry. His wife says it is because he is not used to receiving help, and now he clearly needs help. It is a blow to him. He is grateful, but it is so hard to accept. He is overwhelmed by everything.
It is so important that we show compassion to others. We have no idea what their lives are like, what pressures, what disappointments, what challenges and heartaches they are experiencing. We all need help. We all need each other.
I'm a wife, a mother of grown children, and work full time as a nurse practitioner with cancer patients. My work is gratifying often, and difficult and sad sometimes, too.
I'm average and extraordinary, just as you are. I've experienced profound failures, significant disappointments, had a few successes, and been the recipient of a lot of mercy. I try to keep perspective on what's important in life, and not get too upset about the rest.
My Catholic faith is important to me, and while I'm no theologian, it's my intention that my faith inform my outlook and values, and inspire personal virtue. I love that God desires to reveal himself to us. I love the small hints, the little bread crumbs, the multiple clues, and the pieces of the puzzle that dot the created world and point to the hand of the Creator. I love that He uses beauty, art, science, all his creatures and the invisible realm of our heart and emotions to communicate His goodness to us. And I love that the fullness of his love can be seen in the sacrifice of his son, Jesus, which makes me free.