A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted. -Ecclesiastes 3:2
In February I rotated on the palliative care service at UW Hospital. I saw a patient, who I’ll call David, that had struggled with mental health issues and a complex family and socioeconomic situation during his childhood and early adulthood. He had joined the Army, in search of a fresh start, hoping things would get better for him. Unfortunately things did not get better, and his mental health issues worsened, as did his alcohol use. This continued for much of his adult life.
Then he met Ruth, and everything changed. Ruth was previously married and had a few kids. The two met on a quasi-blind date while he was still in jail after his fourth DUI, but somehow they really connected. Ruth made him promise to stop drinking, and miraculously, David quit drinking after about 40 years of heavy drinking. Unfortunately, David developed cirrhosis and eventually liver cancer, and now he was dying. Fighting tears, Ruth relayed how much she wished they had known each other their whole lives, but she was so happy to have had 18 great years with him. Later that morning, David breathed his last.
This was the perfect case of redemption and a reminder that people can uproot and be reborn, but at the same time a reminder of our mortality and the limited amount of time we have on this earth to make those changes.
The time is now.
Dear God, as we remember the death of your son Jesus today, help us to uproot and plant things in our lives so we can draw closer to those we love and grow in our faith toward you. Amen.Ryan Denu, 2012