Sheila Cassidy, born 18th August 1937 (a good year!), is an English doctor, known for her work in the hospice movement, as a writer and as someone who, by publicising her history as a torture survivor, drew attention to human rights abuse in Chile in the 1970’s.
The world is not divided into the strong who care, and the weak who are cared for. We must each in turn care and be cared for, not just because it is good for us, but because it is the way things are. Much of our understanding of God’s action in our lives is achieved in hindsight. When a particular crisis or event in our life has passed we cry out in astonishment like Jacob, ‘The Lord is in this place and I never knew it.’ We only deliberately waste time with those we love – it is the purest sign that we love someone if we choose to spend time idly in their presence, when we could be doing something more ‘constructive’.
Prayer, even more than eating or sleeping, is not a luxury but a necessity, and we are only fully human when we remember this, and arrange our life accordingly. It is precisely because we cannot see God that we can only know that our prayer is valid by the effect it has upon our lives, by the way we treat our neighbour. When people ask me what I pray for, I say I don’t pray for anything. I pray because God is. I sit before him like an empty bowl, like a flower, like a wound. I give him my joy, my confusion, my boredom, my pain – just lay it there on the floor for him to process how he wishes, and when he is ready.
Thanks be to God