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Clouded Thinking | Chaplain's Corner

The sun is playing peek-a-boo with the clouds today.  One moment, dashing forward, as if to secure some temporary victory over its counterpart; the next moment, overtaken by a smattering of fluff that only serves to dampen its brilliance.  The minutes seem to lengthen as the grey sky thickens with every sun-spent moment.  And then, with stealth-like candour, the sun makes its glorious return to the fore, alighting the horizon in one shimmering burst. 

As my brilliant orb-friend dances away the morning in this glorious, ethereal cinescape, the whole scene is a curious reminder of my current predicament.  I have Crohn’s disease, you see, and from time to time, I end up in the hospital for a short stay.  On my bed I sit, quietly gazing out the window on this sunny Sunday morning.  I am not in church today.  Instead, my morning’s inspiration must come from my glorious window view and the audible rumblings of a warm January day.

Though it has only been three short days since I have arrived here, it is easy to see that inspiration is tough to find in a place such as this.  The air is as thick with antiseptic as it is with negativity.  All around me, people grumble about the food, the service and any other concern than can serve to distract them from the closer-to-the-bone truth: they do not want to be sick; they do not want to be in the hospital.  To put it another way, they do not want to be laying about, able to do precious little about their circumstance.  They are helpless.

When we’re sick, we are out of control.  Our body heals as it will, in its own time.  Your only response is to wait, hoping that the next hour, the next day will bring about a brighter moment.  The healing process of hospitalization, as it were, is a lot like the drama of the passing clouds.  The sunshine is always there but often it is covered up by the passing clouds.  Sometimes in life, our only hope is to breathe a little deeper and wait for the clouds to pass.  And they will pass; they always do.

Thankfully, very few are yoked with the weight of life-long or terminal illness. For the rest, temporary illness is a paralyzing reminder of our finite and limited influence in our lives here on earth. Surely, the clouds do not flutter and dance because of a single word we speak.  Much less do our wounds heal and our bodies mend at the whims of our own volition.  Instead, it is in our illness that we reconcile the terms of our life on earth: we are beautiful and yet small creatures of influence, hewn within a great, cosmic cinescape that is far more incomprehensible than we could ever imagine.

And yet in spite of this, it seems strange to me that there are so few moments in life that remind us of this.  Instead, we spend our lives growing, developing, becoming adults and asserting what seems to us like mastery over our lives.  It takes sickness to reacquaint us with the relative powerlessness of human existence, the point at which our only power is found in waiting, wishing, hoping, praying for the clouds to pass.

Each of us has clouds on the horizon of our skies.  My hope and prayer today is that you are encouraged just ever so slightly by knowing that if you keeping waiting, the clouds will pass.

At the moment, the UNB strike sure seems like clouds on our horizon.  Here’s hoping that time, prayer, and patience will bring the sun to the forefront once again.  As always, you can reach me via email (bourquek@unb.ca), in person (C.C. Jones Student Services Building), by phone (453-5089) or at our blog (Blogs.unb.ca/chaplains-corner).  Peace.

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