Watching my daughter Ellen’s agony as she lies in the hospital bed I am starting to wonder about how I see things. I wonder if all my years on Earth seem to be miscalculated, that perception of things is slightly off center by the influence of what others have told me.
Driving home from the hospital one afternoon I saw this old church on Medford Avenue in Port Jefferson. I thought about all the people who will go in there on Sunday morning, putting on their best pious face and sacred demeanor, then leave and be the hypocrites they are capable of being. This does not mean everyone who walks through the portals of “The Lord’s House” but a good many of them. They will be contented to play the game to ease their conscience, to invoke the name of God to calm their nerves and think if they can fool God he will go easy on them. Their mindset is to say to themselves: “I better not say out loud what I think, or God will strike me dead and deposit my soul in Hell for eternity.”
Then I thought about all the nurses and doctors I just witnessed who come into my daughter Ellen’s room with gentleness and care, soothingly talking to her to calm her fears and pleading forgiveness that they will pinch or poke her to bleed, all in the name of saving her life.
And, I wonder.
Where would I rather go to worship God? Where is truly His house? Is it the place where everything is ritualized, played out Sunday after Sunday, or where there are no rituals just the healing power of God at work moment after moment?
An individual can get up on a pulpit and tell me how to live my life like he is an authority on my feelings, a caretaker of my soul and the true captain of my destiny. Yet he is so unconnected to me, so void of understanding of what and who I am that what he says is simply meaningless. He can make the rules and influence your life while he makes other rules for himself, breaking the rules he set forth for me.
But when I sit next to my daughter, I see and feel the sacred vow of comparison the pervades the whole building called a hospital. I hear the love and the joy that abounds from the people that administer not only healing but relief and hope for tomorrow, this is truly God’s house.