When I personally reflect upon God, I see him as the cosmic force of Being. To each individual he shows some part of himself, manifesting his inexpressible nature within the prism of human experience and faith. The Nursing in Contemporary Society textbook (Haynes, 2004) would likely consider this to be an Eastern approach to spirituality, as it focuses on the way in which God is cosmic. However, my personal comprehension of God is nonetheless Catholic, in that I place my own faith a personal relationship to the Divine, made possible through the intervention of his son the Christ, and facilitated (at times) by the Saints who have come before. This is the face which God has shown to me, though I would not be so prideful as to suggest he might not show other aspects to other people.
In my interview with the elderly Catholic widow G.R., I was able to speak to a client who was much farther along the path of life than myself. It was an inspiring conversation, for it reinforced to me the power which God has to work in our lives through our faith and our religion. G.R. considers religion and God very significant in her life, for she knows that God is always there for her and has true faith in his presences.
G.R. said that god is always a part of her life and is always around her. God is a very close friend, he is not remote. God is all knowing. G.R. says that she humanizes god. She says that she does her best with what she has and sometimes god has to step in because some things fit his job description better than hers. She always thanks god for everything that he does around her. She also said that she prays to saints it just depends on what she is praying for.
Her focus on prayer is a large part of what defines G.R.s relationship with God — it also gives a form and function to her life which many 86-year-old peers might not have. She attends a catholic Church every morning (except Monday because that is the Fathers day off), where she prays to God and communes with fellow parishioners.
She also prays while she is doing something peaceful like taking a walk or just sitting in a quiet area. She says that God always answers her prayers although he may not answer them the way she would like. She says that God has his own plans and she has to live with that. This creates a sort of peace in her life, for she can face problems as the will of God, giving meaning to what might otherwise be meaningless.
As she prays and exists within a church environment, G.R. is making for herself a life which has hope and joy. Her faith not only sustains her emotionally, but also exists in a tangible way. While a skeptic might say that this is no evidence of God, it is not inappropriate to see that Gods direct work is visible in the relationships which G.R. has with her fellow church goers. Though she always turns to god first to help her through the rough times, she also has a very strong connection with people in her community, her church, and her friends. She said that someone is always willing to help her when she needs it. In all her illnesses and needs, her church has manifested the work of God in her life by coming to her physical, monetary and emotional aid. When asked “What is your source of strength and hope?” G.R. replied that God, faith, friends and material things such as having a house to live in and the church at the top of the hill are her sources of strength. It is easy to see how friends and the material are themselves works of God when they were granted — or sustained by– the church.
In her recent illnesses, G.R.s faith was not challenged, but rather strengthened by her.