And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:13, NIV)
One especially busy day, I was taking care of several intensive care-unit patients and a number of floor patients. Then, on top of those duties, I got an admission, even before we were done rounding. I felt overwhelmed with the work. And, I was bitter that I seemed to be working much harder than some of the other members on our team.
Next, it came time for “Love Rounds,” our spiritual discussion with Wil Alexander, PhD, Whole Person Care leader. My first thought was, “I don’t have time for this!” Then, as we sought to reach out to a patient spiritually, I was reached. Following are my reflections.
“Though I speak with cultural sensitivity and can communicate very effectively, but have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of healing and though I understand all the art and science of medicine and though devote all of my time and though I give my body up to sleepless nights on call, but have not love, it profits me nothing.”
“Love suffers long and is kind. It does not envy a man who is more knowledgeable or skillful. It does not seek to prestige, but is humble. Love does not behave rudely even to hospital staff, does not seek to only cover its tail, is not easily provoked by noncompliance, thinks no evil even toward managed care. It does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things endures all things, even charting.”
“Love never fails: but whether there be medicines, they shall fail; whether there be studies and evidence, they will change; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we practice in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.”
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see the creation marred by sin through a microscope and with x-rays, but then we shall see the Creator. Now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abides faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”