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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I C U and U C Me

Yesterday, March 25, 2014, was the twentieth anniversary of the death of my sister, Reba.  She was a person who genuinely embraced life.  I still miss her.   

Her death was caused by lung cancer and the end came slowly at first, then quickly.  Her last weeks were spent in and out of the hospital usually in intensive care.   Remembering Reba’s final days sent me back to my sermon files to see what I was preaching during that time, also the season of Lent.  Here are some excerpts from a sermon I gave the Sunday before she died.

“…life lived genuinely is life where death is ever present.  Until we embrace our mortality we can never fully experience our humanity.

I’ve spent a good part of this past month in the ICU waiting room at the Georgia Baptist Medical Center.  ICU waiting rooms are places where life is genuinely lived. Time is suspended in a vigil that cares only about fifteen minutes every two hours. 

While waiting for that fifteen minutes, strangers talk with one another.  They share their stories. They cry openly.  They answer the phone for one another (obviously before the mass use of cell phones).  They comfort one another.

People hug and hold hands.  Families come together.  They pray and cry.  They remember. They make promises.  They comfort each other in the setbacks.  They celebrate the smallest victories.

Individuals reflect on their lives, ask important questions, and wrestle with destiny.

Life in the ICU waiting room is full, real, and intense.  

Why?  Because death is so present!

The honesty of an ICU waiting room is what the world needs.  The honesty of an ICU waiting room is the genuine living to which we are called in the Gospel.  Jesus tells us that until we can live in our mortality, we are not living, but merely existing.

The season of Lent is the Church’s ICU waiting room.  It is when we come together to explore and experience genuine living by embracing our mortality..."

And so I share these words again.  This time with you, and with a present reflection.   I C U in today's  texting code means, “I see you.”   And this is what happens when we accept our mortality and live genuinely with ourselves and one another -  I C U and U C Me. 

1 comment:

  1. What a touching and timely reflection. I recently read something by someone who was diagnosed with cancer that was presumed to be terminal and during that time, life was so much more clear and crisp and real. When their cancer went into remission, they lost that clarity. I wonder if it is possible to recreate the ICU experience of life outside of it, and what are the tools and support systems to do so, and what if any are the potential pitfalls. You have my thinking at usual !