Green pastures of the ICU

This re-writing of Psalm 23 is dedicated to the patient and family who graciously welcomed me into their suffering these last few days. We prayed with the images of Psalm 23 during my final visit this afternoon.

The Lord is our shepherd,
we believe this, and there is nothing else we want.
You make mom lie down in the green pastures of the ICU,
a place where she’s safe and resting comfortably;
you lead her beside still waters of the Mississippi River,
the calming current visible from her bedside;
you restore her soul with the constant presence of family, nurses and chaplains.

Even as our family walks through this valley of darkness and death,
we fear no evil;
we fear that mom will be in pain as she gasps for breath, we fear holidays without her sass, we fear saying that last goodbye,
but we fear no evil;
for we know God is at our side.
The Good Shepherd’s rod and staff, his love and compassion, give us courage.

God laid out a plan for comfortable care before mom
in the company of her enemies — those tumors spreading fast;
Tonight a priest will anoint her head with oil;
her cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow mom during these last days of her life,
guiding her to dwell in the house of the Lord, peaceful and pain-free, her whole eternal life long.

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