Be A Lamp

Years ago during a performance review, my employer told me not to hide my light under a bushel. That has always remained with me and so today as I read it in the Gospel, I wondered what I would do now with that image. Having survived a risky surgery and been given some more days on this earth, what shall I do for God? How can I let my light shine? We can hide our light in various ways and be unaware that we are even doing it. The Fourth Week of the Exercises looks at how we pay back the great Love given, how we can be salt and light in some sense.

Today is five weeks since surgery. The other day I received a blog post by Andy Otto about the fifth week of the Spiritual Exercises. That concept while new to me fits here. I have come through four weeks, in pain and confusion, in drawing closer to Jesus, in knowing the suffering Christ and in embracing the Resurrected Son. Now with everything that I have learned I return to “regular” life so to speak, to the fifth week of the Exercises. I bring the tools from the four weeks and will continue to draw closer to Jesus in friendship given what I have experienced.

This afternoon I returned to the hospital with some gifts in hand. Several people stand out in my care and I wanted to thank them for being salt and light. One of the night nurses was cheery and calm no matter how harried things might have been. He was the only one who made me believe that I was the only one–the one patient who mattered at that moment. If things were crazy down the hall, he would not reveal it by even a sigh. When I confided I was not in a great mood one night, he took it in stride. He hummed as he changed my smelly dressings and took my vitals. Clearly this man loved his job. He never hid his lamp under a bushel.

While he was not there, one of the health care aides I really liked was. A big smile of delight came over her when she recognized me. I am sure God sees her good and humble work all the time. May glory be ascribed to God through her ministry to others. More often than not when I rang the bell, a smiling face or a compassionate heart would appear. Some of the staff had lost their saltiness but generally speaking I received good care.

Yesterday after my session with the surgeon, I had a reunion with the resident who taught me to claim my inner boss. He had mentioned she was at the clinic and when I slipped into the hallway I spotted her between her tasks. She smiled when she saw me. I gave her a big hug and tried to say something but started to cry instead. How could I explain to her how amazing she had been to my recovery process? I tried but she downplayed it. Today along with the gifts I dropped off a card for her that found words to my tears. She had empowered me to channel my inner boss in the medical world. While her colleagues had also been awesome, her solo visits with me were a bright light on my path back to wholeness. Her wisdom and compassion were not hid under a bushel. I will be forever grateful for the lessons she helped me tap into while I grappled with my darker moments of being ill.

Today is the Feast of St. Ephrem of Syria and the readings are followed by this quote of his: Be a lamp in brightness and make the works of darkness cease. Do you hide your light under a bushel? Can you recall an experience when someone made the darkness cease for you? Be a lamp and let your light shine before all so that your good works can be seen and glory given to God.



About sstyves

A Canadian prairie girl rooted in Ignatian spirituality, I seek God in all things. Whether I catch a glimpse of the Divine and delight in its presence in nature or in the beauty of an encounter with someone, I am ever so grateful that I can recognize the Creator. I greet each new day with hope and happiness, expecting blessings and miracles because I am created to praise, love and serve God. This blog is one way of realizing that through my writings, prayers, and photography. To God be the Glory!
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2 Responses to Be A Lamp

  1. I suppose one fringe benefit of surviving these kinds of medical ordeals is that it gives one the chance to thank those who helped make it possible. Your article made me think of the incredible kindnesses rendered to my family in a similar situation, the nurse who dropped in near the end (when it was not her shift, not even close) to bring candles and support. The black woman, a complete stranger up to that point, who prayed with us so hard late that ultimate night, even though she was obviously in the advanced states of a terminal condition herself. Looking back that was probably the most intense, intimate, loving relationship our family ever had with a black person, at least up to that time. Yet we were so focused on our own loss it never occurred to us to even ask her name, much less make the “present run” described in your article, even though such a gesture would have been so much in character for the person we mourned. I found your article a useful reminder of what should be done to thank the helpers, and of what a gift it is to be able to look beyond the enormity of one’s own loss to remember those strangers who have stood with us at our hour of greatest need.

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