This week I had the opportunity to read and reflect on a portion of My Grandfather’s Blessings, by Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D.,pg. 164-65) which articulated exactly where I hope to be as a chaplain; a place of refuge and not a rescuer. I’ve always been worried about how I would “fix” things or people as a chaplain and being clear that I can’t “fix” anybody! God is the ultimate healer and “fixer.” So how was I going to provide comfort for people concerned me. But reading this excerpt from the book helped me to understand that offering the gift of presence, a sympathetic and empathetic ear provides a comfortable place for people to poor out their hearts, a refuge. I’ve had moments when I thought, “I have no idea what I’m going to say to a person who has just been given a poor prognosis. What could I possibly say?” But I’ve discovered that providing a non-judgmental space for them to talk, hold their hand, and if they are receptive, say a prayer. More and more I talk with people about prayer being a conversation with God and invite them, and family members if they are present, to talk with God. I have been immensely blessed and honored to be part of these conversations.
There is a song by Loretta Lynn that says:
(Now let us) have a little talk with Jesus (let us) tell him all about our troubles
(He will) hear our faintest cry (and we will) answer by and by
(Now when you) feel a little prayer wheel turning
(Then you’ll) know a little fire is burning
(You will) find a little talk with Jesus makes it right
Taking time to converse with God can comfort a lot of sorrows. Enjoy the conversation.