The Milk of Human Kindness

Posted on January 27, 2018 under Storytelling with no comments yet

Milk. Sinful.

( Peter MacDonald photo )

“He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”

John. 8:7

We’ve all done something and felt guilty about it afterwards. Depending on your religious upbringing, the guilt could last weeks, months and even years.

Harold (*) was a patient at the hospital and was quite ill. Indeed, Harold, after a long and productive life, was more than prepared to meet his maker. He felt that the end was near.

Annabelle (*) was a veteran nurse. She was smart, compassionate… and a noted prankster.

Annabelle was on the night shift. Harold was one of her patients. It wasn’t the busiest night the floor had ever seen but busy enough that Annabelle never had a chance to take a break. On her rounds, she stopped in to see Harold and noticed that he was restless. “I can’t sleep,” said Harold. Annabelle checked the meds chart and noted that there wasn’t anything unusual. “Are you in pain, Harold?” “Not exactly,” came the reply.

After a few rounds of questions, Harold admitted that there was something bothering him, and it wasn’t physical. “I need to see a priest. There’s something I have to get off my chest before I die.”

Having an opportunity for a last confession is the right of the dying and most hospitals go out of their way to accommodate this most important of requests. “Well, Harold, you’re in luck. There just happens to be a priest in the hospital and I can get him for you.” It was well past midnight. “I can take you down to the chapel right away.

There wasn’t a priest within miles of the hospital at this time of night.

Annabelle gently got Harold out of bed and into a wheelchair. They took the elevator down to the darkened chapel. Annabelle turned on one small light at the rear of the chapel. She got to the confessional and carefully got Harold out of his chair and into the small, dark chamber. “I will go and get Father,” said Annabelle.

Harold had a few minutes to review his transgressions. He was a good man and sin of any kind didn’t sit well with him.

A few minutes elapsed when Harold heard footsteps coming into the chapel. Moments later, the priest’s door closed and a screen pulled back. It was impossible for the priest or Harold to see one another with the subdued light in the chapel.

“Bless me Father, for I have sinned.”

There was a long pause as Harold mustered up the courage to confess his sins. “A few nights ago, I was quite thirsty. I was able to make it from my bed to the nurse’s kitchenette. I opened their fridges and helped myself to a glass of milk. It was outright theft. For this, I am truly sorry.”

On the other side of the curtain sat Annabelle. She felt slightly awkward hearing a confession, wondering what punishment the Lord might send her way. When she heard about the theft, she stifled a guffaw, wondering how she would keep from laughing out loud and exposing her deception. She absolved Harold of his heinous crime and asked him to say 3 Hail Mary’s.

Harold was visibly relieved as Annabelle wheeled him back to his room. The guilt had imperceptibly shifted to the shoulders of Annabelle.

Once back in bed, Harold thanked Annabelle profusely for arranging a priest on such short notice…. nothing short of a miracle.

Before turning off the light, Annabelle asked Harold if there was anything she could get for him before he went to sleep.

“A glass of warm milk might help me sleep better.”

Annabelle got one for Harold and fixed one for herself as well.

*Names have been changed…

( Thanks, JT )

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