(This is the first of three parts of a piece that Father Timothy Regan wrote, reflecting on the Holy Week experience through the lens of the hospital/health care experience. Father Regan serves as the Catholic chaplain/Spiritual Services with University of Iowa Health Care in Iowa City.)
Such a busy place, and noisy, confusing,
with comings and goings, to-ings and fro-ings.
Artisans, workers, trade-folk,
professionals, elites and destitutes.
Native tongues, foreign tongues,
dialects, insider-jargonese and wordless cries.
Does anyone know how much I hurt?
Does anyone care? – Who? – How will I know?
My hurt, my pain, somehow isolates me.
Everyone else is too busy to be occupied with my need.
But I do need.
Then a Voice speaks,
touching my heart and my hurt.
“I DO know.  I DO care.  Trust me.
You are not alone – ever alone.”
The Voice that speaks is from just another face in the crowd.
But it’s someone who knows – and understands.
This Voice speaks Truth and Healing and Peace.
I listen.
The busy, noisy confusion fades
and the hurt.
Enigmatic garden, renowned orchard,
what will I find as I enter thee
or bare my life, my soul, amidst thy structures
ancient and new?
Your very existence bespeaks the power of life,
the determination and will to live
even when stricken from without,
aged from within,
or gnawed upon by infesting agents.
Your shelter breathes the words
But I find in thee also a darkness and pain
of unremitting mortality that is laid upon my shoulders and my heart;
a burden that causes my soul to quake,
my heart to fear,
my mind to rebel against all that I know must be
because all the powers on earth cannot make it otherwise.Within you, dearest garden, I bare my soul to its Creator,
whether to life or to death,
and in the Creator’s love for me
find the strength, the will, the courage to accept
and be at peace.

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