I came home from hospital late on Wednesday evening. I was very happy. I had had wonderful attention at the hospital for two weeks, surrounded by kindness and a wonderful variety of skills.
The only regret is I could not easily sleep – but I discovered that I was enjoying the extra hours of prayer, especially at nighttime. In the darkness I was so aware of your love and prayers, of the nursing care, and my heart was full of gratitude. So I prayed and prayed, thrilled at everyone who came into my mind. There were wonderful memories from throughout my happy life and they all became prayer.
Alison kept me in regular contact with you and I was aware of the many letters, cards, emails and good wishes you were sending. She and Sam have put these together in a folder for me and even if, in hospital, I didn’t know the many of you who were writing – the Lord did, and you were in my prayer also.
I remember one night asking myself could there be a happier priest in the whole of the world, which I know sounds strange: but I was receiving the best of attention and my heart was full as I could pray for everyone.
The discomfort (rarely pain) was a distraction but hardly seemed to matter. I knew I couldn’t ask for more and asked the Lord “What more can I do for you?” No answer. So I kept on being happy, feeling blessed and grateful to be able to pray.
Then I knew I was getting better, the signs were clear. The doctors and nurses truly did not know any main cause, but they could see several causes. I had an MRI scan, Xrays, biopsy and they were so honest with me about their puzzlement. I was sorry I could give them no clue. Just two weeks into lock-down I knew something was going wrong but I felt I would be able to cope. I have never been ill, except for two hip operations, so this weakness was something entirely new for me. Yet, everyone was so positive and I knew that slowly I was getting better. Then the lovely day when they said I was truly well enough to come home again. I told them I would miss them and they smiled and laughed. But I do, they were so kind.
Now I am home and receiving similar wonderful attention. I feel immensely grateful. Today is the third day and I am enjoying every moment. You might even envy me the good meals I am having, the prayer and reading time which I find wonderful gifts.
I am looking forward to reading all that you have written and when I am ready I shall be glad to start phoning – but there are so many of you and I can’t reach you all except by my prayer. But the messages you have sent are so good and encouraging.
I know there has been amusement about the three hospital dreams I said Alison could share with you through the email updates. George Clooney shooting me in the one film and my thinking I’m getting out of here and I did: the next frame I’m in the sacristy at St Joseph’s ready to say mass. Relief! The next film dream didn’t actually start: I was introduced to Bruce Willis and I thought I couldn’t handle George Clooney I’ll never handle you, so after shaking hands we said good-bye. My third dream was being invited to look after the Pope in Rome following my experience at the Leicester Royal infirmary. He was a pleasant patient and I enjoyed it until Cardinal Nichols walked in and said that he would take over now.
Last night (Friday) I had a truly peaceful dream of being on the mission again in the wilderness of British Columbia. If you can, read the book called “I heard the Owl call my name”, which is the story of an Anglican missionary who helps the people to see not the Great Spirits – the owl and the raven – but a God who loves them all.
Dreams can bless us, reminding us of happy memories. I am blessed. Thank you everyone.
God bless you,
(26th July 2020)