As she told me the events of that afternoon at the hospital, I realized that what I was hearing, in our very own COVID-19 coronavirus days, were verses out of the Bible being brought to life. The problem was, I couldn’t find the verses.
So I did what any highly-trained seminary graduate with many years of pastoral experience does when wanting an immediate answer (if he happens to be married): “Susan,” I said, “where’s that passage with the Bible verses?”
The answer, I am happy to saw, was immediate. It’s just that the negotiations leading up to the answer happened to take a while longer. But we finally settled on three upstairs windows being washed inside and out, and also dinner out (or dinner in, in case she can’t wait for the stay-at-home guidelines to end.) I know what you might be thinking, but let me just say that across these many years, this was actually one of my more successful negotiations.
The verses I was looking for (and which cost me only one dinner and three washed windows) are II Timothy 1:3-4, and they go like this: “Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy.”
It had been six weeks, maybe more, when they last saw each other. He was in a Brunswick care facility, she at home. The facility, like all nursing facilities, had been (and still is) off-limits to all non-residents, including family and spouses. However they caught a lucky break, if you could call it that, because he had to be taken to the hospital due to heart complications.
The hospital telephoned with the news that surgery for a pacemaker was scheduled for the next day. “If you come, you can see your husband for ONE MINUTE when he is being taken in for surgery.”
She was there of course, and the hospital was true to its word: one minute only as they prepared to wheel him away. With leads on stickers being attached across his chest and hospital staff at the gurney, she took his hand and gave it a squeeze. He opened his eyes and saw her, and as their eyes met the tears poured forth for them both. “Hi sweetheart. I didn’t think I’d ever get to see you again,” he said. They told each other “I love you,” and that was it.
She was so grateful, she said, and she also said this: “That was one minute more than everyone else in that nursing home and all the nursing homes have had these past six weeks, and who knows how much longer until we can see each other again.” With that we spoke too of the need to pray for residents and patients, for their caregivers, and for the families and spouses in this time of distancing and separation. Would you pray for them today and for someone you know in the midst of such separation?
God Bless you,
“Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy.”
II Timothy 1:3-4
United Methodist Pastor, Child of God, Follower of Jesus Christ.