The Gift/The Ying and the Yang

The Gift–The Ying and the Yang

Mark 1:29-39

Tonight I sat by the bed of a seventy five year old man who has been suffering from cancer. I met him at Toast one morning while I was eating breakfast, several years ago, and we have walked together since that time. He was not a believer, he challenged me,and as he got sicker, screamed in his pain and fear. Tonight he asked me to baptize him and I did, celebrated Holy Communion with him and gave him the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and he said, “Do you think God will forgive me?” And I looked him in the eyes and said, “Most definitely,” and he died.

Yesterday 27 year old Sam came to my door with a gift, and he was wet, had his four dogs with him, and I took him out to eat, He is homeless, and has very little support, and he suffers.

Each day for over half of my life I have experience suffering directly, I look suffering in the eye, I hold the hands of suffering, I am abused and by suffering–this is my gift. Where it comes from, I have stopped asking–it is a gift given to me, and to not use it means my own inner destruction. Suffering and I have become friends through the years. That is the ying within me.

The yang for me is my own expectation of others to walk with people in suffering and to walk with me.¬† The fact is we all suffer, suffer immensely, we cover it up through drinking, pills, chasing the money train, and have trouble looking at others as they suffer. So I apologize to all if I have expected to much during the past couple of days, and in the future– I am sorry, really sorry. I have five people I trust and I worry I have put to much on them. I will not be looking at your responses, because I do better listening–my phone number is below, call me. We all meet each other where we are.

The truth is I have always lived life on the edge, I always am taking risks, I walk on the edge. I am always laughing at the face of death and daring her to take me.That comes from my own suffering, but also in so doing I see the face of the living Christ.

The shock is wearing off now, and as I see this injury  as challenge of a hill to climb. There will be pain and fear, but it is still climbing a hill from where I will enter into ministry in new and different ways. I will fall back into the yang, but in our Scripture this morning it is Jesus calling the demons out and Jesus will call my demons out and provide healing as he does to all of us. To the gentleman who died tonight he called his demons out and he is has entered into the kingdom, to Sam, our time together provided hope, and care. And I end with this:

Go slowly,

Consent to it

But don’t wallow in it

Know it as a place of germination

And growth

Remember the light

Take and outstretched hand if you find one

Exercise unused senses

Find the path by walking in it

Practice trust

Watch for the dawn.

(Marilyn Chandler McEntyre

Again I apologize for my expectations, any remarks I have made, and if I put to much on you!

Join me in watching for the dawn!

Fr. River Damien Sims, D.Min.


Temenos Catholic Worker

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