This past week in my Clinical Pastoral Care didactic session I was introduced to Palliative Care by a compassionate chaplain who pours his heart and soul into supporting those whose end of life has a certain time frame. The definition we were working with is Quality of Life care: A collaborative effort to relieve the pain and suffering which results from serious illness and/or treatment. Palliative Care aligns the plan of care with the patient’s values and goals. Although I’ve only been exposed to the veneer of the type of care, it’s clear to me that knowing and acting upon one’s values and goals is clearly a central theme.
I was wondering what it would be like if people who are healthy started thinking about living a life that would relieve pain and suffering; their own and others. I hate to turn on the news and hear about the numerous killings, not to mention the patients I have been told I will encounter in the hospital.
I believe a value to hold close in life is abundance not scarcity. If there is assurance of sufficient food, money for daily needs, love and time, then there is no need for competition with others. Jesus tells us in the twelfth chapter of Luke:
But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
If faith is at the heart of the values that lead us to relieving suffering and pain then it’s time to start drawing closer to God.