Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." - Psalm 23:6
Recently, as part of my work as a newly certified nursing assistant, I was asked to sit with a man who has primary progressive aphasia. This is a form of cognitive impairment that in my person's case has caused his inability to speak as well as a loss of memory.
On this particular day, after a long pleasant walk together around his neighborhood, it was time to come inside and rest. However, my patient wouldn't sit. He would go to his recliner and stand in front of it, but when I tried to get him to bend his knees and fold down into a seated position, he'd push my hands away. Then he'd wander through the den, the kitchen, and out the side door to the driveway where I'd meet him to redirect him back into the house, and try again. This cycle continued six or more times over the next hour.
I tried the CNA textbook recommendation and had him put his arms on my shoulders and gently sit back. No go – he pushed my arms away again. Finally - and just as I was about to give up - I stood in front of him and hugged him. To my surprise, he hugged me back and I leaned in and gently sat him down in the chair. After all that time, all it took was a hug!
Later that night while looking at updates on decisions my government's leaders were considering, I remembered the day's earlier incident and chose to react with a different stance: I closed my eyes and surrounded them in love. I do not always know what to do with my frustration, yet I do trust that God will guide my movement towards the greatest good.
Guiding Spirit, let me find surprises in my struggles that remind me that sometimes the best act is to soften my resistance and to trust You, the One whose Love works in ways perhaps not yet revealed.
Dar Mikula contributed this devotional to Rise Up! Spirituality for Resistance, a collection of devotionals to keep you burning bright without burning out, whether you’re leading a justice effort at church or heading out to join a local protest. You can order Rise Up! from UCC Resources.