Today marks the last time that I took the Eucharist to the elderly. Once I had made the decision to retire from this ministry, I have waited for this day. I went with another lady to Estrella, a nursing home/rehab hospital. Most of the folks came to the service which we had in the Chapel. I still have to return the box with cross and candles and CD player to the sacristy this week along with my cross necklace, pyx and book. I wish that I could say that the experience was moving. It wasn’t. It was as though I were moving through the events without much thought, as though I were in a trance and not a good one.
In the past when I took the Eucharist to the elderly, I felt so privileged, so honored, so frightened that this “awesome” responsibility had been given to me. I prayed that God would protect me as I carried His Son. I prayed that my work would honor Him. I didn’t pray today. Why didn’t I pray or have those feelings? Why? Why should today be any different? Each Eucharist is a direct experience of God. I should have had the same trepidation that I had before. Instead when I forgot to light the candles before the service, when we sang the songs we had brought, I felt so little, so inept – just as I had been feeling lately – as though I were ill prepared to do this task, and it is just as well that I will do it no longer. The service seemed so small and insignificant. I hope that those who attended didn’t feel as I did. In my heart I wouldn’t want to disappoint them.
Jesus deserves so much more from me. And I am so incapable of giving Him what He is due.
I had a kind of “waking dream” this morning that helped me recognize that I am really good at individual visiting, but holding a Communion service just isn’t me. It seems too impersonal I guess. There is little time with the individual patient. I know that we are there to share the Body of Christ and that is enormous and awesome. But these folks need more, if that can be said – they need human contact. How many never see family or friends? How many have no conversation with anyone but a nurse or caregiver?