Nurse Wisdom from the ICU at OHSU (4.1.19)

Posted: Mon, Apr 1, 2019
Nurse wisdom from the ICU at OHSU: “The machines and tubes, the alarms and jumbled numbers flashing on a screen can feel threatening. God graced someone with the wisdom to invent these things as life-givers. The Source of all that is breathed life into us. These machines are sacred gifts breathing life into the one [...]

Rev. Dr. Steven Koski

Nurse wisdom from the ICU at OHSU: “The machines and tubes, the alarms and jumbled numbers flashing on a screen can feel threatening. God graced someone with the wisdom to invent these things as life-givers. The Source of all that is breathed life into us. These machines are sacred gifts breathing life into the one you love. When you hear an alarm, consider it an invitation to return to your breath that is connected to the source of all breath.”
This morning in this strange space of machinery buzzing, wheezing and beeping, a nurse tenderly brushes her hair behind her ear, looks her in her eyes and gently says, “You are safe. You are loved.” Where is the holy? Right here. We cannot attain the presence of God because we’re already in the presence of God. What’s missing sometimes isn’t God but awareness.
Shirley Guthrie wrote, “A hospital corridor can be a mysterious place, a terrible and holy threshold upon the boundary of the soul. Here you will find an opening through which you might apprehend and embrace unexperiemced aspects of God. Uprooted from your ordinary days, the hospital confounds the peaceful soul with the realization that the God of the parish sanctuary is also the God of the ICU. The God of beeswax candle and incense is the God of vomit and pus; the God of white linen and embroidered chasuble is the God of plastic curtain and sweaty sheet. The God of organ and flute is the God of squeaky gurney wheels and crying children; the God of deep port wine and communion bread is the God of infected blood and wounded flesh. The God of all those corridor smells and sights and sounds is also the God of profound silence. When despair has obliterated ordinary prayer, when the psalms fail and words are stupid and meaningless, the mantle of loneliness surrounding me becomes a mantle of dark and wordless love. This darkness reveals the paradox of prayer: in the absence of God, all there is, is God.”
Dear ones, you don’t need to go out and find love. Be still and let Love find you. You don’t need to bring the sacred into your space, whatever that space may be, because the sacred is already there as close as your own breath.