St Vincent’s Hospital (6) — Is-ness, Part 2

You go under a General Aenesthaetic, get operated on, then go to  a recovery area where the nurses wake you up. “Jim, do you know where you are?” There are no preconceptions in the ICU, just the insistent question about whether you are conscious or not. The nurses don’t stop asking you until you reply.

The simplicity and complexity of “is-ness

Where am I? I was conscious but I needed to figure out the answer to this question. Everything seemed fuzzy to me.

My simple logic was there were  only three possible places I could be; and that had to be in the ICU:

  • In the place they told me I would awaken after surgery (in my case I awoke in a place that looked like a complicated hospital room, which I assumed was St V’s ICU)
  • In the place others had told me  I would be, after death (in my case there weren’t any clues of  after-death experiences)
  • Nowhere (I wouldn’t have regained consciousness; there is an end to human “is-ness”)

The complexity of “is-ness” lies in the fact that every individual has a unique mind, and thinks and acts differently. This was brought home to me in the sponge bath I described in a previous post. My experience was very different than the man in the next ICU bay. He was a chatterbox and I just relaxed and enjoyed the sponge bath. He had lots of stories to share with the nurse; I shared the experience with the nurse but it was mainly a body experience, not a mind experience. Very unusual for me.

This says to me that every person experiences the world uniquely, and probably eternal life as well.

The mountain of God’s “is-ness”

Climbing the mountain means, in the simplest terms,  crossing over from this life to the next life, into God’s “is-ness.”  We cannot get there by ourselves; God has to bring us home. Jesus directly told us not to worry; he would do that, in John 14: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God and trust also in me. In my Father’s house there are many rooms; if that were not so I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you with me that you may be where I am.”

This is the simplicity of God’s “is-ness” which he desired to share with us. The complexity comes from how we think about this. Each person builds their own ideas and attitudes about this reality, about God’s “is-ness.” What came clear to me in my experiences here in St V’s is that all my knowledge and ideas can’t get me across that gap, from earthly life to life in God’s “is-ness.” I can no longer rely on my own “mountain climbing” prowess or strength, or even that of my team of friends and family. I must rely on Jesus’ promise to take me with him.

That is a great learning and comfort for me.


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