Prayer took on a transcendence that I cannot quite explain
By Chaplain Jennifer Cooper
Franciscan Health System
As a hospice chaplain and member of the care team at Franciscan Hospice House, I spend my life my life in ministry witnessing the sacred. End-of-life care provides opportunities for healing within families and many other gifts. Sometimes, there are spectacularly subtle events that encourage my faith as I walk with my patients in the transition from life to life. Such is the story of Steve.
Steve’s family had gone home for the night, and as I passed by his room, I felt a nudge to sit with him for awhile and pray for him and his family. Steve had been unresponsive for several days. But, as I sat prayerfully in his silent room, I became aware of slight movements of his arms.
I stood and leaned closer to him to get a better sense of what was happening. Steve’s breathing had the stop-and-start quality of apnea. Moving closer to his ear, I told him, “It’s okay to let go. Lean into what’s next for you on your journey.” Steve became very calm. As I continued to pray, laying my hand on Steve, I could feel energy flowing from him, something I hadn’t experience before. I had a strong sense that Steve was leaving this earth and I was here to witness this sacred moment. Prayer took on a transcendence that I cannot quite explain. All I can tell you is that God was present! Steve passed from life to life soon after this.
I will always remember Steve and that day. For me, it was the day I understood that the passage from life to life is not just a theological or Biblical concept, but something very real; something quite sacred. Steve gave me a certain gift of life and hope that continues to carry my heart in ministry.