Friday, January 9, 2015

On the gurney, peace is always beautiful...

The table is set, beautifully. The scallops, veggies and red wine wait. In it's candlelight, I bow my head for grace. With all of my "wealth", I am moved to pray for, at least, someone in Syria but hopelessness is all I feel. How can my little prayer have any affect, there? Will it really do any good? I feel small and defeated.

This morning on BBC, I heard that millions of Syrians have been displaced and are without homes or passports. Before the conflict they too were at their tables, nicely set, with lights of the season twinkling, their special foods before them, their middle class jobs waiting Monday morning, their middle class doctors accessible around the corner and their grands were off to school, safely, to start a New Year. However, now, the lights have gone out, there is no table, the schools are barrel-bombed, the doctors dead or escaped, the houses, condos, apartments are rubble. Yes, they were me a couple of years ago sitting in their "wealth". In comparison, I can't even feel the extent of this grace I live in. Would any prayer I say ever make a difference?

Then I remember, an emergency room in Tucson. The gurney was surrounded by white coats, I knew they were trying to keep me alive. I had been run over by a truck. (My femur artery was severed, etc.) I remained conscious except for the impact and the time under the truck. A card this Christmas quoted Walt Whitman saying, "Peace is Always Beautiful." Lying there on the gurney, a helicopter ride minutes ago and with what seemed like "madness" going on around me, I felt that peace accompanied by the warm-water feeling of love in my chest -- a feeling I have in prayer yet I was not praying. Too much pain, too much going on with my body. However, my thought and comfort were, people will start praying for me in Nova Scotia when they hear. Then water was dripping on my face. I tried to brush it aside and bent my neck to see the leak in the ceiling. There was the face of my friend Ben leaning over me, crying. I tried to lift my arm to comfort him but a fractured arm does not work, either. So I said, "Ben, it is alright."

Feeling the prayers, I wasn't praying made me "alright". Growing up I had heard a butterfly wing touched in the back yard can be felt on the other side of the earth. It always sounded far-fetched but somehow, deep down, I knew it was true. Now, after countless scientific-experiments, physicists are discovering a particle, like one of the countless number that make up you and me, when separated can be tickled and its entangled counterpart will dance, instantaneously, no matter how far away the second particle is. *

Medical technology saved my physical-life that day but prayer - my velvet feeling of well-being - was saving my inner-life. I would have died without either one being activated. I could not pray laying on the road or on the gurney so maybe my Syrian-grandma counterpart cannot either. Surely then, this small table grace tonight, like a butterfly, will waltz above a stream and step straight through the firmament.**

photo source:, an oil painting -- Angelus by Jean-Francois Millet, 1859
*paraphrase: Bruce Greene, a professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University, author of The Fabric of the Cosmos
** paraphrase: Emily Dickinson

No comments:

Post a Comment