Jeanine was in her 60s. She wasn’t a church member and I barely knew her. A neighbor had called me to the hospital-Jeanine’s husband was dead, and there were no family or friends at her side. Trying to get my bearings, I leaned over her and recited the words of the Twenty-third Psalm: “The Lord is my shepherd …. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil ….”
“Help me,” Jeanine moaned. Her eyes opened and then closed. I knew she was pleading for release from her pain.
“Jeanine, I’m so sorry,” I whispered. I hurried to the nurses’ station. When a young nurse looked up, I asked if she could do more to relieve Jeanine’s pain.
“Nothing more to do,” she said, looking back down at an open ledger.
The above is an excerpt from the Reflections essay in the December issue of AJN. It’s by a retired clergywoman who tells of a moment early in her career that brought her face to face with a doctor who believed in a very different kind of God than her own. Click the link above to read the essay in entirety.