When the elevator door opened, there, staring back at me was one of the largest blackest dogs I’d ever seen. I hoped that he was remembering all of my spiritual care and dog treats as I noticed that his leash was wound around the wrists of one of my residents sitting in a wheelchair. Since the resident was unable to get on the elevator on his own, I immediately realized that they had somehow become separated from their caregiver. As I stepped into the elevator, I noticed that the leash was not only wound around his master’s wrist but then fell to the floor and disappeared down the elevator shaft. I began to pull it up and then began to realize that it was a very long leash and I was unable to bring it up to the elevator. The leashed seemed to be caught on something. Concerned that it would get caught in the mechanisms of the elevator, I locked the elevator out to prevent a problem, as staff paged the maintenance department and a small crowd gathered to watch the event.

After a few moments of waiting, the elevator next door opened up and another staff member stepped off. After explaining the problem to him, he laughed and said that the resident’s wife was holding the other end of the leash and was waiting on the floor until the elevator returned. Stepping back into the elevator, I detached the leash to prevent an accident as we turned the elevator back on. The leashed whipped up to the ceiling and then down to the floor as we moved through the shaft until we returned to the floor where the couple had been separated. A cheer went up at his arrival. She had been waiting all along. The resident endured some teasing throughout the day about his wife keeping him on a long leash but was returned unscathed.

Later the resident reflected on the meaning of those moments. Life is full of ups and downs but wherever we are there is always a connection to us; perhaps it sometimes feels far away, removed or out of sight but we are always connected. As we follow the strings of our life, sometimes they seem to disappear into a dark abyss but that is when we have to trust that life brings us to the place where we are meant to be and holds on to us.

We promote spiritual wellbeing when we are attentive to even the smallest moments in life that provide use with the chance to reflect on the meaning of our life. Take some time today to pay attention to the small moments. Let even the most mundane events be ripe with meaning. The spiritual practice of attentiveness helps us to see how all of life is infused with meaning.


About uhnspiritualcare

Spiritual Care Professional to Toronto Western Hospital with the University Health Network.

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