As a hospital chaplain, I met Mrs. Corrigan in an office adjacent to her oncologist’s office. She had just been talking with him about her terminal illness and about non-curative, comfort-care plans. Mrs. Corrigan was facing the end of her life from a metastatic form of cancer. As a patient now living at home, she had previously undergone many surgeries, radiation treatments, and chemotherapy.
Like many Quakers, my beliefs and responses to the world have been challenged by the political chaos of recent years. It is hard for me to see children separated from their parents, public wilderness areas sacrificed to corporate interests, and the dearth of compassion or humane feelings shown by many politicians and bureaucrats.
Last Tuesday, I headed up to Friends Church with Karen, my accompanying elder and wife, intending to see some quilts. And on the way North, we drove to Mount St. Helens, all the way to the National Park.
She suffered with an anxiety disorder as well as hard-to-explain, intermittent physical symptoms that seemed confined to one side of her body. Through multiple office visits, our comfort with each other grew, and her insightfulness and willingness to engage in therapy became apparent.