The Last Rites
The Ambulance Driver blog recalls the moments, over seven years, when he had to tell anxious loved ones the person he was crouched over was dead; beyond his help. There were men gone from old age, young blond accident victims, the middle-aged expired from a heart attack, daredevil young men on their shattered motorcycles. And the anxious survivors "... and then I say The Words. 'I'm afraid she's dead.' "
As children we know one sort of God, the kind who loves us like our parents. He is the God who we spoke to just as if He was in the next room in the moments before we went to sleep. And as we grow up, the God of our childhood slips away forgotten, but He is replaced, if we are in Grace, by one we can speak to as adults. He never truly goes away, but as we are adults, leaves us mostly on our own. The God of adulthood comes seldom and usually in moments of great happiness and loss. There finally is the Lord who speaks to us when we are old, when we awake bewildered to watery brightness of each new day, when we know we are close to leaving the flowers and yet are not wholly despairing of meeting them again.
The Ambulance Driver captures the most secret moments of society. The ones most hidden from view. Here's the end paragraph from one of his most interesting vignettes.
"Are you a Christian, AD?" she asks. "All this time, and I've never asked."
"Yes, Ma'am," I answered. "I am. Not as good a Christian as I should be, but I believe, yes."
"The doctors all say that Jeremy wasn't aware of anything. He had never been Baptised before the accident. I didn't find my faith until after it happened. He was born out of wedlock, you know."
"Yes Ma'am, you told me."
"Do you believe people can go to Heaven if they've never accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior? My religion says no."
"I believe in a loving and merciful God," I tell her, "one who wouldn't condemn Jeremy as he was. So yes, I believe he's in Heaven."
"So do I," she smiled with utter conviction. "So do I."
"Tell ya' what I believe," Pardner broke in laconically. "I figger Jeremy wouldn't be sittin' here gettin' all weepy like this, wonderin' if he's with Jesus or not. He'd be up, actin' up and bein' a sixteen-year-old kid. Then he'd grab Heather's boob."
And we all laughed uproariously and listened to funny stories of Jeremy's childhood, many of which we had heard before. When the coroner arrived, he thought we were all nuts.