“I am so frightened!” kept coming from the woman across the hall from me. She was confused, alone, and confined to her hospital bed—not knowing why or even where she was. Whenever she saw someone passing her room, she would call out, “Will you help me? Please help me!” Each time I heard her cry my heart ached for her and for myself, knowing I was unable to go near her.
How sad it is to be alone in the world with no family or friends to care. I heard one of the night nurses say to her, “Don’t be afraid. You are in the hospital and we will take care of you.” In the dark of night one voice said all she needed to hear and for a moment all was quiet.
Over these days and now weeks, I have had the time and space to reflect on how people are crucial to healing. In Sacred Scripture Jesus touched people and that touch brought forth the power of healing in people who needed that touch.
“I’ll pray for you” is that profound touch that holds us when we don’t have the strength to hold ourselves and engenders within us the power to be healed.
“I’ll pray for you” is a gift so deep and personal that the individual is enfolded in the love of the one praying and in that love knows him/herself as beloved. What a gift it is to hold another in prayer and what a blessing it is to know oneself as held in prayer!
Of all the gifts I have received during these weeks of recovery, this one refrain has sustained me at a level beyond words. The healing is not mine to do but is done within me through the people who hold me in prayer.
As we begin our Lenten journey this year, I invite us to do as the prophet Joel proclaims, “Come back to me with all your heart.” Touch others with your love and invite others to touch you. Come back to practices that have had meaning for you but perhaps have slipped away over these months.
There are so many people who, like the woman across the hall, cry out “I am so frightened. Please help me.” Maybe you are one of them, maybe you know someone who is. Can you respond? Can you hold or be held in prayer until life is restored to you?