“I have all day to sit and ponder.”
My friend, Ray
I met Ray sitting in his wheelchair, alone in his room a few days following a severe stroke. His words came with struggle, halting, awkward. My role was to serve as his Speech Therapist. I asked if he had any preferences for topics with which we would conduct our ‘Speech Therapy’. He nodded toward his night stand where his Bible and daily devotional lay. That was the start of a sacred relationship.
I learned that the stroke interrupted his lifestyle as a vibrant, active member of his community at large, and especially his church community. Ray had been a quiet light of Spiritual presence to the members of his church community. Now, he sat in his wheelchair needing us to assist with his every basic need. This new role as a “helpless old man” was not easy for Ray to accept. He shed more than a few tears as he struggled to find purpose to live in his quiet, crippled body.
About two weeks after we met, I knocked and entered his room to greet a bright eyed, smiling man. “I got it!” he exclaimed. “You come in here, you read, we talk, then I have all day to sit and ponder.”
In the medically induced quiet imposed by his stroke, Ray learned the gift of his predicament. While he was left with few remaining physical abilities and challenging speech skills, his heart remained alert and open. He had found a new purpose for his life. Author Rod Stryker would call this Ray’s ‘dharma code’, his soul’s purpose, that which drives his life’s work. Ray had found it anew. After this day, Ray could be found all over the nursing home smiling, teasing, spreading the joy of his purpose.
In the quiet of his medical condition, Ray’s soul continued to grow. He had returned to his place ‘beside restful waters’, and joyfully shared it with everyone he met. Thank you, Ray.