Sunday was a confusing day at the hospital.
We were paged in the morning to visit with a wife who wanted to talk with us before her husband was moved to DNR. Do not resuscitate. At some point in the course of some illnesses, making the choice to not attempt to restart a heart with CPR is a compassionate choice.
By the time I showed up, the patient had some moments of awareness not previously seen. His wife and I talked about letting God know what we would like. And then, though God had been listening to our conversation, I talked with God.
By the time I charted the visit, the patient had been responding to directions to squeeze hands.
This came to mind as I came to story in Mark of the man who was lowered through the roof. Jesus tells him that his sins were forgiven. And then after people fret because of that, Jesus says “which is easier. To say, “your sins are forgiven” or “Pick up your pallet and walk”?
Clearly, the latter is what we mostly want. We prefer healing of bodies (particularly those of us present with the grief of death). But it is a challenging part of this story that Jesus starts with the former. As if that matters at least as much.
This is not a comfortable conclusion, and so I, who am not on a mat, am not making it. And the story of the man able to squeeze hands is not a case of “See? I prayed and he’s better.”
As I said in the room on Sunday, I don’t understand God. I am, however, continuing to talk with God and, like the man who experienced both forgiveness AND walking, to listen carefully.