I Was Dying and You Rubbed My Feet

A number of years ago, I wrote a short article about a very important experience I had when I was a Jesuit novice.  Without having had this experience, in fact, I might not be a priest today.  Though the article is “old,” people often mention it to me as one of the things I wrote that they most remember.  Now that I am a priest, I thought people might enjoy me sharing it again.  Here you’ll find a quote, plus a link to the whole article:

There is a strange and immediate intimacy that comes with awareness of one’s mortality. Sarah, drifting in and out of delusion, took me places in her memory that I’d never been before. I became part of her family. I shared her most sacred and special moments. With Sarah, I walked the grounds of her farm in Maclain, Texas, though we never left her room. She helped me realize what a privilege it was to be with her at this time. I began to forget my initial fears. I thought, hey, this is pretty easy. I can handle this. Maybe working with the dying isn’t so hard after all.

But then she asked a question, and suddenly I faced another challenge beyond conversation and good feelings. It was like one of those movie scenes when time slows down and faces freeze in thoughtfulness or horror, and one second becomes an eternity. In that forever second, my comfort was taken away, and the unthinkable happened. I heard Sarah asking, ‘Do you rub feet?’ . . .

Read the whole article here.

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