Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Wednesday of the Twenty-Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
“You, O man, are without excuse, every one of you who passes judgment. For by the standard by which you judge another you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the very same things.” (Romans 2:1)
Judgment? Who among us hasn’t passed judgment on someone else? Maybe it’s the jeans someone is wearing, or the car they drive or the way some people can’t seem to control their kids' behavior in a restaurant. At some point in our lives, most of us have passed judgment.
As a young nurse working in the ICU, I distinctly remember caring for an elderly gentleman who had Alzheimer’s. He was very pleasant. At the same time, he kept me very busy as he was constantly attempting to crawl out of bed, tugging at the EKG cables or trying to pull out his IV. Toward the end of his stay in ICU, his wife approached me and stated she could no longer care for him at home – that upon discharge, she would like for him to go to a nursing home.
I was shocked. He didn’t seem to be that bad. Yes, he was busy. Yes, he required constant care, but in my opinion he wasn’t sick enough to be placed in a nursing home. In fact, there were several of us who felt as if his wife were giving up on him. We were quite disappointed and sad for this man.
I placed judgment on that woman. Many of us did. And yet, on the day I decided to place my former husband in the nursing home, I understood all too well what she must have been experiencing. The emotional and physical exhaustion that comes with caring for someone else’s every need, the heartache of knowing you can no longer fulfill the vows you made before God – it’s excruciatingly difficult to explain the agonizing emotional toll of making such a decision when the person you care for is in their 40s.
Quite honestly, this is the first time I’ve let myself reminisce back to that time, so please bear with me. I never thought I would become that person who could or would have to make such a decision. When Mike, my former husband was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), I was bound and determined to find a cure and to stick it out to the bitter end. I was loyal and dedicated. But as his MS progressed, and as he became more and more dependent on me to provide his every need, I became overwhelmed and my health began to deteriorate as well. I began to question every aspect of who I thought I was and would someday become. I struggled to keep up with the demands of my job, let alone the ability to care for our three children. Making the decision to ensure his cares were met and to ensure my health remained intact was the most difficult and most overwhelming decision I have ever had to make.
And yet, how many people must have placed judgment on me for coming to such a decision?
I know there were many.
Judgment. We all do it. We don’t necessarily mean to do it, and yet, to be honest I still find myself placing judgment even though I have felt the sting of it. It’s something I fear I will have to learn to manage the rest of my life. Perhaps, it might do me well to remember a quote from Mother Teresa, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” And I’d like to add, that when we judge others, we just never know when we will find ourselves in a similar situation and have others judging us.
every day brings new challenges with new opportunities.
As we go throughout our days, remind us that we are all Your children
that You are the only One who can judge us and love us at the same time.
Help us look upon our brothers and sisters with compassion, empathy and love as they go through life’s journey.
Help be us be responsible to each other rather than judge each other.
In Your loving Name we pray.
Nurse Manager, Dialysis, Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center
Romans 2:1-11 ● Psalm 62:2-3, 6-7, 9 ● Luke 11:42-46