I volunteer doing spiritual care for the sick, families and staff at our local hospital. It used to be called chaplaincy, but the word has too much hidden behind it. Maybe the word is too religious, when being born, being sick and dying are spiritual not religious.
I found this photo, on the National Geographic page today. It sums up my experience caring for the hearts of people who are coming and going.
It is green, from the heart.
I have to have open hands, a symbol of my open heart and head.
I have to be brave. Not only for the sick, but for the changes this work has caused in me.
I have to be still, and take in what is, when people are suffering. Can I hold space when others are tossed by fear and grief? I open my hands and then yes, I can.
This photo reminds me that I am not alone.
This photo is the answer to my question, "why me?".
With my hands open, I hear the answer, "because you can".
Last weekend I sat with a family, as they said goodbye to their mom and grandma. I sat with a young woman in labor whose baby was born dead. This photo is a comfort for me today.
I have many stories, about visiting sick people. Some tragic, but if you don't think of death as tragic (sometimes it is, but mostly it is not), they are miraculous, affirming, comical and mostly unbelievable! I think I can share a few.