Back in February, I wrote about blessing blankets in one of our Intensive Care Units. I said that as I touched each blanket, I said something like this:
“God, the next time a Chaplain sees these blankets, a person will be dying. These will be touched by patient techs and nurses, family members and respiratory therapists, and a person who will not live much longer. God, will you care for each of those people as they offer care, as they wrestle in these moments? Will you give them peace that passes understanding, courage for loving one another? And will you let people know that you love them? In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
The other day, I was in a room with a woman who, as her family said, “was a strong Christian woman.” I prayed for her and for them. I stood with them as the breathing tube was removed. I stood with them for awhile, then walked out of the building with one of the family members.
I walked back into the room and started talking with the remaining family member. While we talked, the door slid open and a patient tech walked in carrying a blanket. It was bright yellow with purple edges.
I just laughed.
“Would your mom like the bright colors?” I asked.
The adult child smiled and nodded.
I laughed, and I cried a little, because I remembered the blanket. It was one that, as I was moving it from one pile to another as I prayed, I said, “God, let that one go to someone who needs it.” Because who, in those last hours, wants a blanket that bright?
It turns out that I needed that blanket in that week, on that shift, in that room. I was the chaplain that I had prayed for.