Monday, June 27, 2011

The Room

When I was a teenager, there was no such thing as "hospice".  I worked at a facility for "terminally ill" patients, where I seemed to have a natural ease and peace with comforting and caring for the dying.  My mother often marveled that I was able to do so at such a young age.  I began working there at age 15 and continued until I graduated from college.

The "home" had private rooms, double rooms and large wards with up to eight patients in them.  My job was to bathe, feed, change, care for, and watch over them for an eight hour shift.  Early on, I became aware that there were always telltale physical signs in the days preceding someone's death, that told me their time was near. Yet, somehow, I knew, even before those physical signs became evident.  I don't know how I knew, but a great peace would wash over me whenever I was in the presence of a patient who was about to slip into eternity. I would sense that they were still in this world, but not of this world.  Whenever possible, I would hold them in my arms and sing to them in their last moments, as they stepped from this life into the next.  For me, it was an honor, a calling and an opportunity to physically feel the presence of God.


Whenever the staff knew that the time was very near for someone to leave this earth, we would draw the curtains around the patient so as to give them some privacy from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the ward.  I remember many times, after they passed away, I would step back to the foot of the bed.  I could see on one side of the curtain, was an adjoining patient who was very much alive and fighting to live and on the other side of the curtain, was a person who was no longer of this life...but at peace.  It was the same room, with the only thing separating life from death, this world from the next, was that curtain.


Even then, as young as I was, I understood that that's exactly how the Lord sees us.  The only thing separating us from Him is a thin curtain or as Scripture puts it, a "thin veil."  The Bible talks about the temple as having an outer temple and an inner Holy of Holies with only a thin veil between them.  Could it be that God sees all of His creation as being in just one room; our world and eternity, separated only by mere breaths.

One morning, not so long ago, a speaker at church talked about the thin veil that separates us from God.  He mentioned how we should be engaged in activities that bring us closest to the thinnest place of our separation from the Lord; things like prayer, worship, communion, and fellowship.  By participating in these types of practices, we are able to draw closer and closer to Him, catching dazzling glimpses of Him, moving towards the thinnest place in that veil.  And finally, when it comes time for us to draw our last breath, we simply move to the other side of the curtain, at peace, with Him.

Just think, dear heart, we can participate daily, in moving closer to Him.  We don't have to sit around, waiting for God to draw us in to His presence.  We have an active role to play in our relationship with Him.  I like to think that he's just on the other side of the curtain, in the same room, a breath or two away.  It brings me great peace and joy to know on the day my mother left this life, she merely slipped to the other side of the room, a breath away, and one day, I'll join her there!

From His lap,

43 comments:

  1. VERY awesome. So comforting thinking about my dad. XOXO Stephany

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great piece to read. Since I have an aging mom very comforting.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It does seem to comfort in that way, doesn't it. I'm glad the post blessed you, Stephany and Eslie.
    ~Erin

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love the feel and the humble wisdom of your writing, and the warmth of your blog colors. Your thoughts are spiritually focused and I look forward to reading you more. Peace in all things.
    Dale

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you, Dale. That's just what I want my blog to achieve. I want it to be a peaceful place for people to visit and contemplate spiritual things. I hope it blessed you! Thanks for following my blog.
    Erin

    ReplyDelete
  6. Comforting.Great writing Erin!
    Leanne

    ReplyDelete
  7. Erin
    That was so beautiful it was extremely comforting...
    Thank you!
    Lisa

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you, Lisa. I'm glad it blessed you!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Beautiful, Erin! I, too, am surprised that you took care of dying patients at such a young age. You were/are a marvel! I once wrote something similar that I give to those who are grieving the loss of a loved one. It's about roses that grow over the garden wall, blossoming on the other side. Thank you for this lovely piece. So touching and comforting. Bless you!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh Lynn, that post sounds wonderful. I'm going to search through your archives to find it!
    Bless you!
    ~Erin
    PS Let me know when you get your notecards!!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. How could I not know this about you!? Amazing. Your ability to behave with dignity and grace in trying times is incredible to me. Praising God for my incredible friend, Erin! Dianne

    ReplyDelete
  12. My felt complete at peace after reading this post. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I enjoyed every piece of your writing. God bless. I have a Christian youth blog and I recently shared a post about God's power of provision. The Lord has been so good to me and I feel really encouraged when I read posts like this. God bless you;) You may check my blog: http://theyouthforjesus.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you, Bob. I am following your blog! I'm glad that my post blessed you. Thank you for being a young person who is willing to tell other youth how much God loves them!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Erin, you have a way of making me smile through sadness. Thank you Lorraine x

    ReplyDelete
  15. Well, you deserve to be smiling, Lorraine! You are precious and valuable! I appreciate you!
    ~Erin

    ReplyDelete
  16. You have a such a beautiful blog--aesthetically and spiritually. Thank you for that lovely post. It really touched my heart. God has given you a true gift. And he'll bless you always because you're using it to help others. It's so nice to "meet" you in the blogasphere. :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Dear Erin,

    Thank you so much for your blog. I really look forward to it and admire your writing skills and your topics. You are such an inspiration! Thank you for taking the time to share your insights with us :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. It's so nice to meet you too, Anita! Thanks for your kind words. It's wonderful to hear someone say that my blog blesses people. That's the only reason that I write it!
    Blessings,
    Erin

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thank you, Nicole. Sometimes it's hard sharing from the heart because I don't know what other people will think. Thanks for the encouraging and uplifting words!
    ~Erin

    ReplyDelete
  20. It never matters what other people think. it only matters what you think at the end of the day, and what the Lord thinks at the end of your life. I love your blog and am adding a link to your blog to mine. So talented!

    ReplyDelete
  21. You are so right, Amberr! I only write when I feel the Lord putting something on my heart so I should never think twice about it. Thanks so much for linking to my blog. You are a blessing and I appreciate you!
    XOXO
    Erin

    ReplyDelete
  22. Erin, I too have witnessed the passing of others and it is very comforting to see them go in peace if they have been suffering here on earth. Your article reminded me that we are all just a breath away whether we are ill, old, healthy or young and that we should be prepared and safe in his arms.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Wonderful post! God definitely gifted you with compassion to care for terminal ill patients at such a young age. I love how you used that experience to discuss our relationship with Jesus.

    Also, thanks for visiting & following my blog. I hope you have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Just a breath away, Karen. Just a breath away!
    ~Erin

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thank you for your kind words, Rebecca! It's comforting to be able to picture Jesus that close to us, if we only draw near to Him!
    Happy 4th of July! God bless America!
    ~Erin

    ReplyDelete
  26. My half-Lakota mother taught me that there is no death -- only a change in worlds. It takes a lifetime of living that belief before it sets in enough to grant you peace when it is your time to walk over the horizon to that land where no shadows fall. Roland

    ReplyDelete
  27. I love that, Roland. Your mother was very wise. Thanks so much for sharing that with me and for visiting my blog!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hello from your newest follower. I found you through your link with (antbed) Anne. This is an amazing post. First of all, I just want to say: I love your heart. I am on a journey to become the person you were, even as a teenager...someone comfortable w/ death & dying. Thank you for caring for & comforting every precious one. What a RARE gift from God. Also, I want to tell you: I agree w/ you 100% regarding the thinness of the veil because my (departed) grandfather explained it to me in a dream by drawing an analogy revolving around a contrail. Again, thank you so much for this loveliness. I look forward to reading more of your words.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Brandee, thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your heart. It is a gift from God that I have to comfort the sick & dying. I've never once felt uncomfortable or strange about it. I have asked God why He gave me that particular gift, but God knows best so I just trust Him.
    Bless you on your journey.
    Erin

    ReplyDelete
  30. What a lovely testimony to His Faithfulness! Thank you so much for linking it up at the Antbed. I know it will be a blessing to anyone who reads it. I took our four youngest children to a full scale replica of the Tabernacle a few months ago. As I watched them approach the curtain separating the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies, I began to weep and pray. Seeing them pass that curtain and enter in, there was such a since of awe and wonder in our hearts. And to know that our precious Jesus removed that separation for all time just makes your spirit worship and rejoice. Thank you for such a beautiful story revealing His Truth.

    ReplyDelete
  31. That must have been overpowering and overwhelming, Anne! To watch your children enter there. I know God touched your children, whether they realized it or not! I'm honored that you would stop by my blog!
    Blessings,
    Erin

    ReplyDelete
  32. Great post! You are such a powerful person! You were sent to write, keep it up!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Aw, thanks so much, Michelle. Your kind words are very encouraging!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

    ReplyDelete
  34. Oh Erin. Your words, your wisdom and faith just fills me when I read your posts. You have such an amazing soul and my gosh, I pray that I will be as inspiring as you are to other people especially to my family and kids.

    I'm going to visit often!

    XOX

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Roxi, thank you so much for your sweet words. They really touched me. I'm sure that you are a wonderful blessing to your family! You stop by anytime. I'm glad my post blessed you!
      ~Erin

      Delete
  35. You never cease to amaze me with being able to post something that at the very moment I need to read. As a young adult I worked with Alzheimer's patients and I am so sad to say I got "lost" in how God could do this to such loving people. I wish I had opened up and gotten more out of the experience. You are awesome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That must have been tough to work with Alzheimer's patients. I know it's difficult when we watch people suffer. I don't believe that God causes these bad things, but I do think He will cause good to come out of them if we just look for it! Thank you for your kind works.
      Blessings,
      ~Erin

      Delete
  36. Beautiful! I often think, when I'm listening to our Reverend speak and I'm looking around at my 'other family,' how much love and amazement I feel at being part of the Oneness that our lives really are. We are so close; we just need to take a few breaths to remember that :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's right, Jenn. We are so close. Isn't it wonderful to be able to feel that closeness!
      Blessings,
      ~Erin

      Delete
  37. Thank you for this post. My Dad passed in January, so this was very timely for me. It was a beautiful way to look at death, a normal way, as part of life. Still it was difficult for me to read as a mother, so close to having given birth, to new lives. Thank you, though for reminding me of what life is about...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Keesha, I'm so sorry for the loss of your father. I still miss my mom, and it's been 7 years. Babies are such a beautiful reminder of the circle of life. I know you are pouring all your love into that precious baby!
      Blessings,
      ~Erin

      Delete
  38. My MIL has been fighting cancer for the last few years & just a few months ago, it looked like she was slipping away & we were going to have to call in hospice, but she's pulled through yet again. It is a sad thing watching someone suffer the way she has. My own father died suddenly & it was such a shock & devastation for us all, because he was very healthy, but now after watching my MIL, even though I really miss my dad, I'm glad he went quickly.

    This was a great post!

    Stopping by from VoiceBoks!
    http://ziggysblogs.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  39. That's such a wonderful and comforting post, Erin. Hope you're having a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for giving us a little nugget of truth from your heart!

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...