They can’t take that away

The patient had a long list of medical problems, and was having another semi-crisis. I was at the bedside, guiding another urgent intervention.  The patient’s cognition had waxed and waned over the course of this stay, and earlier in the day  was clearly delusional.

During the rapid-response, however, the patient suddenly became lucid and said “Stop. I’m done.  Jesus is calling me and it’s time for me to go home to God.”  The family concurred, and so we instituted comfort care, and death ensued. A family member turned to me and said…..”funny, {patient} has been a life-long atheist!”

My son, Steve, died in April, 2017, due to complications from his cancer.  He was baptized as an infant, and attended parochial school through 6th grade…but had been agnostic throughout his adult years. His father and I rushed to his bedside when it became clear he was dying…but we arrived an hour too late.

I kissed and hugged his lifeless body….I made the sign of the cross on his forehead….and I whispered in his ear that he was baptized, and they couldn’t take that away from him…..Jesus had chosen him, and still claimed him.

Today was the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, and Father Dave’s sermon reminded us, again, of that truism.  There is nothing we can do to “choose” Jesus.  He claims us. Our baptism binds us to him, and in Father Dave’s words “They can’t take that away!” I take comfort in the knowledge that though, like the patient in the hospital, my son had doubts….at the end, Jesus, having claimed him, told him it was time to come home to God.

They can’t take that away…..


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