Recently, I have been struck by the frailty and weakness of the human body. As a hospice volunteer, I sit with dying people once a week for four hours at a time. Often these people are so weak that there is no lengthy conversation or animated gestures. They are tired and sleepy, sometimes agitated and restless but always moving toward death just as we all are. The difference is that theirs is nearer than how we want to envision ours.
Being present to the dying offers a tender view on the human condition. It brings the need for an intervening Creator into focus and enlarges the efforts made by our Creator to do something about our condition. I want to believe that my tender feelings are a reflection of God’s. I want to believe that my grieving for a degraded creation mirrors in a small way that of God’s.
As I feel my own tenderness pressing outward from my center, I am forced to reflect on the big-heartedness of God. I see only a fragment of the dying, a pinhead of a dying-world picture, but God has seen from the beginning and continues to see all of it, in every place. What a massive store of tenderness to be present always to frailty, weakness, and death!