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2012-12-20 digital edition

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2012-12-20 / Church

THEY SAID IT

(Life Lessons from Hospice Patients)

That’s No Phone!

Albert was a quiet guy. Like a shadow, he would drift in and out of his room, noiselessly piloting his wheelchair down the hallways. Even a ninja would be impressed.

One day, I walked in to find him sitting with his back to the window, facing the door. “Interesting,” I thought.

“Hi Albert,” I said.

“Who is it?” he asked.

“It’s Chaplain Gary,” I responded.

“Prove it,” he answered.

I smiled, moved forward, and showed him my name tag. He took it and examined it carefully.

“Very well,” he said, handing it back to me.

As I sat down, I took my phone out of my pocket and laid it on the bedside table.

“What’s that?” he asked, in an alarmed voice.

“That’s my phone, Albert.”

“No, it’s not! That’s no phone! That’s a tape recorder! Get out of here!”

I sighed, pocketed my phone and took my leave. Albert served our country for years behind the Iron Curtain. Danger had been his constant companion. Suspicion had become second nature. Sometimes Albert got lost in the past.

When we go through ugly, nasty stuff, it leaves a scar. We’re never the same again. The trauma becomes part of the lens through which we see the world. We can be perfectly safe, yet still tremble in fear.

Fear can be a gift that protects us. It can also be an enemy that imprisons us. We need wisdom to know the difference.

Help us, Lord, to not get lost in the past.

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