Sunday, May 21, 2006

Look in the mirror, tell me what you see...

So the story continues... the first visit with my patient was awful. For so many reasons. There was nothing I could do for him, say to him, that would help on Thursday. But Friday's visit was better. I sat with him for an hour and half. He is dealing with a lot of stuff, but in the end, it came down to this ... "when you look in the mirror, tell me , what do you see?" He saw a man that was bad and did so many horrible things in his life that he couldn't get past it. He didn't tell me the illegal things he'd done, and I don't want to know. He'd say " I know it here (in his head) that God forgives me for what I have done, but why? Why does God bother with me? ... I know he forgives me, but I can't forgive myself. "
I have a hard time with visits some days, because I am not the type that knows the Bible backwards and forwards. I can't quote things appropriate for the moment, I don't pray with them unless they ask. I do not like people shoving their practices on me, hence I do not do the same to them. But I did say to him... that God loves us like children, because we are his children, we are created by him and he knows us so well.

My patient alluded to the fact that when he picked up his Bible and opened it randomly, it came to Psalm 139:13...
"For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother's womb ... 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. "
and it hurt to read these words because of the way he saw himself, thought about himself. How can God think about him so well, when he couldn't love himself?

In the end, isn't that what really is wrong with humanity? We tend to have a negative self-image, as Christians, because we are taught the emphasis on humility, versus pride. It is hard to have a balance. (Philippians 2: 3 says "do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.") This is hard to do.

It was a good hour with my patient, and we were wrapping up when I was told my a nurse that there was a minister outside waiting to see him. Remember the day before? He was upset because the minister from his church wouldn't come see him? I will check in on Tuesday to see how that visit went.
The past week was hard, but I think that in the end, God did good work through me that day.

1 comment:

Galina said...

It can be hard to speak to someone like that without having the urge to comfort them. Nonetheless (harsh as it may sound), maybe some people need to be feeling bad, and will not get fully comforted until they see God face to face.

Years ago, there was an older guy I was friends with. One night, he got drunk and barged into our place, crying. He was talking about the bad things he had done in his life, including his connection to organized crime and him torturing and murdering people. God's forgiveness aside, if he is truly repentent, I think it is only natural for him to feel extreme shame and guilt, until the day he dies. While God will not punish him, the natural consequences of sin will probably remain for as long as he lives.