The Background Currents

I seem to think so often that I am the prime mover and that all of the decisions I make are purely from within my own thoughts.  Ego, I suppose, can take the credit, and normally ego has me convinced; then along comes a day like today to remind me of the plethora of things are running in the background that are not coincidence, but are synchronicity.

Yesterday, July 3, we finished our work experience early.  I felt the “tug” that tells me to go by the in-patient unit at Arkansas Hospice.  As is my custom, I stop by Target and load up on goodies for the nursing staff.  One can never go wrong with good chocolate, good coffee and those fancy Starbucks drinks in the glass bottles. I have my own little back way into the unit that involves the loading dock and the maintenance area.  I’m no more than 2 minutes from parking place to bedside.  Slipping in quietly through the back entrance I drop my packages and exchange pleasantries with the head nurse (Betsy) and the director of nursing (Diane), both of whom are angels without wings. Having no particular charge to attend to, Diane scans the roster and points me  to a patient that is having a hard time that day.  I whip out my music (Saing Kaur, Mender of Hearts.  Crimson Collection, Vol 4 and 5, good stuff), assume the meditative state, and off I go.  Two hours in the connections are loud and clear and things are smooth and quiet.  The nursing staff, as is their custom, peeks in on me quizzically from time to time.  They always seem to be curious and somewhat uncomfortable about my methods, but the boss lady likes me, so they just watch me from a distance.  After a few hours it is time to be on my way.  I kiss the patient goodbye and slip out the back door as quietly as I came in.

This morning I could hear her calling me.  I had things to do and I went about my errands fully intending to get there before noon.  Alas, the day filled up and I did not get back over until 4:00.  It was strange as the “tug” was more intense than normal.  I fully expected her to be on the planet and ready for me when I arrived.  As I moved on down the hall I could sense that her room was empty, and sure enough, as I got closer my suspicions were confirmed. Linda, another angel without wings, caught me at the nurses station and let me know that my patient had departed just after noon.  She sensed my disappointment then said “but it is good that your are here, because you need to visit with Mrs. D in this room over here”.

Sure enough, Mrs. D needed a visit.  I once again pulled out the bluetooth speakers, fired up the melodies and got busy.  Mrs. D was a highly educated woman, late in life college graduate, and judging by the visitors who had come and the stories relayed to me, quite a character.  I began to breathe and got connected to her.  Suddenly I began to loose concentration and thoughts began to wander.  I began to doubt myself, wondering if I was doing any good at all.  She looked no different than when I entered the room, yet I just knew that the tug of earlier had to be related to her.  Still, the doubts flooded in like a river and I began to question everything I was doing. Manic thoughts swam all around me telling me I really needed to question my motives.  Finally, in a fit a clarity I heard the voice in my head say “Enough.  Be still.  Cause and effect are not up to you.  It is yours only to do the work.  Do your job and quit worrying about outcomes”.  With that admonition and encouragement (yes, it was both), I got still again and got back to work.

Sure enough, as soon as I let go of trying to control things and trying to predict things peace filled the room and the angels began to coalesce.  Within minutes I caught the sign out of the corner of my eye that heralds a departure and she took her final breath.

The moral of the story is that I planned or scripted none of these events.  They just happened.  They certainly would have happened without my involvement, of that there is no doubt; but in these two cases I was involved.  I was involved not because of any plans I made, but because I listened.  I took time to listen to the noise in the background and pull out those things that were intended for me.  Even when the din of self doubt and guilt came up louder, I was still able to look deep into the background and get back on track.

How many times have I missed an opportunity to be of service to my fellow man only  because I was dismissing the background noise as just that, instead of listening closer for the whispers within?

Much love to all.

BH  7/4/2013

Bruce HolstedComment