I just helped my sister to take leave of the hospital where she has recuperated for the past eight days. Though Cecele made it through surgery with flying colors last Monday, each day afterward served its purpose in preparing her to return home. This morning, when I received the call that Cecele would be discharged, I wanted to see for myself that my sister was well enough to go home. I saw Cecele last night, and I had my doubts. I’m happy to report that an hour before her release today, I found Cecele’s appearance and her ability to move about to be markedly improved. Cecele’s last IV line had been removed. She had completed two walks around the post-surgical recovery floor, traded her hospital gown for street clothes and was ready to go. When I arrived, Cecele was sitting straight up in her chair, anxiously awaiting the wheelchair ride to her son’s car for the drive home.
My sister seemed very much at peace as she prepared to leave the hospital. Her son Ralph had arrived early to insure Cecele’s smooth discharge. Her prescriptions had been ordered and her belongings were packed. Her doctor and nurse made their final visits. Cecele’s daughter had inquired about her home care needs and arranged for a caretaker named Bethlehem to help Cecele as she completes her recovery. When Cecele’s discharge became imminent this morning, Bethlehem made her way to the hospital. I admit that the opportunity to meet this young woman contributed to my decision to be there for Cecele’s discharge. While we waited, I asked Cecele if she had eaten lunch. She said she had and that she also made sure that Bethlehem had eaten. Bethlehem immediately piped in, “You don’t have to worry about taking care of me. I am here to take care of you.” Just as quickly, Cecele added, “But I will worry about you because you’re here with me.” Their eyes met, and I knew Cecele and Bethlehem had bonded. At peace, indeed!
When Ralph left with his mom and Bethlehem, I walked back to the parking garage. As I made my way to my car, I whispered, “Thank you, Dear God, for Bethlehem –both of them!” I couldn’t help thinking that this young woman had already revealed a glimpse of the promise offered by the little town of the same name so long ago. I continued my prayer, adding “I just knew her name was a good sign. Thank you so much!” Unbeknownst to her, Bethlehem has brought a world of hope, promise and peace to my sister and to the family who loves her.
On this Feast of the Most Holy Trinity, we celebrate God’s presence among us. Our Creator God’s love impelled the Divine to give form to that love by fashioning this universe and all of the creatures who inhabit it. When humankind failed to grasp the goodness of God’s gifts and we looked elsewhere for happiness, God relentlessly pursued us. When we continued to run from God’s pursuit, heaven touched the earth in the person of Jesus. From the moment Mary gave birth in that tiny town of Bethlehem, God walked among us. Jesus emerged from this humble beginning to reveal the truth about God’s love. Jesus came to clarify what we had too long ignored and too long misunderstood. Still, we turned on Jesus, deserted him and saw to his death. Jesus responded by rising from the dead to ensure us once and for all that God’s love prevails over everything. To be certain that we would never again lose sight of God’s loving presence, God’s Holy Spirit came and remains among us. Though the Spirit is not often revealed in tongues of fire, the Spirit is revealed just the same.
As I consider how to celebrate this Feast of the Most Holy Trinity, God’s ongoing presence in my life comes to mind. The Spirit has nudged me along through the numerous people God has given me to love and through those who have so generously loved me. Whether I am at my best or at my worst, I find that I cannot help being grateful for God’s presence to me in creation and in those around me. My only response to God today must be gratitude.
So it is that I celebrate the God of love –Creator, Son and Spirit–with thanksgiving. Thank you, Dear God, for entering into the moments of our lives, especially when you come in the gentle presence of those like Bethlehem who unknowingly reveal you in their loving care.
©2012 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved