Yesterday Sr. Wantabee was back at the hospital. She met several very interesting patients. One, a handsome young man doing construction in a town she had eaten in during her trip West, had stubbed his toe in the airport, resulting in a huge inflamation and the exposure of an underlying infection. His care was no problem as he flew around the US doing construction, not married but his married friends wives cooked and cared for him, young, buff, and cared for. In the next room Sr. Wantabee met a tiny little lady from the East who was a Hindu by faith. Her daughter was there to translate but her English was actually very adequate. She had both knees replaced but one went bad and she was headed to the operation room. Being sick in a foreign country is noooo good, we both agreed.
The patient and her daughter gladly explained their faith to Sr. Wantabee and their Trinity: Brahma the creator, Shiva the bad guy, and Vishnu the nurterer. All have consorts. Prayer in their faith is more personal and done at home in a little temple area created in the home. The patient prayed daily and had a special relationship with the God of conservation, I think. But, she admitted, that she also had a statue of Mary and Jesus, in her temple area and included them in her prayer routine. Sr. Wantabee was touched that this lady, a foreigner, was able to incorporate aspects of Christianity into her faith routine. She was able to share about a previous experience in the hospital with a man who had his idol with him and had explained to Sr. Wantabee that the idol drew him into meditation on the truth behind the figure and the reality it represents. Likewise, the personage of Christ draws her into the reality that there is a God who reaches down, incarnates into human experience, to reconcile with us through the cross and who will go with her into the operating room.
We prayed and parted in tears. She because I understood her fear of another operation when the first somehow went bad and the doctor was struggling with a bad back…and perhaps my confidence that God cares about her and will be in the operation with her. Sr. Wantabee was teary, touched by a foreigner who was more willing to reach into her religion than she was to experience the others.
Perhaps Sr. Wantabee will meet again with this frail little lady on Thursday to hear how things went and to touch lives again across cultures.