Dogs Provide Kindness to Stressed Travelers (Feature Friday!) (#BestOf)

(the Best of) A Year of Being Kind, Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas is over, but the winter holidays are not. The weather outside my window in the Chicago suburbs is awful. Blowing, snowing, sleeting. Not the weather to travel, certainly. When I read this entry, I thought it was exactly what I ought to repost for today. God bless these wonderful service dogs, providing a little bit of refuge for stressed travelers. (God knows so many people need it.)

 

A Year of Being Kind blog – Friday, December 26, 2014

i_am_a_service_dog

Dogs Provide Kindness and Comfort to Stressed Travelers (Feature Friday!)

Today is Friday. The last Friday in December, and the last Friday in 2014. So, today is the last Feature Friday post in the blog A Year of Being Kind.

Have you ever felt stressed in an airport? Stress and anxiety can come from many different places, when a person is at the airport. Take that remembered stress from the airport, and multiply it thousands of times (from the thousands of people who feel stressed and anxious there on a regular basis.)

This week, I am featuring the awesome dogs from the Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Ministries. A number of specially trained golden retrievers and their handlers came to O’Hare International Airport earlier this week, in the days running up to Christmas. Why, you may wonder? Because the dogs are used to providing comfort and care in anxiety-laden circumstances. In this particular case, the dogs greeted the stressed-out travelers. Spent time with them. Were warm and friendly, in that low-key manner that golden retrievers model so well.

“At Christmas, for a lot of people it’s a difficult holiday. It’s a stressful time for some travelers,” as Tim Hetzner, president of Lutheran Church Charities, told The Huffington Post. “If you’ve ever [flown] out of those terminals, you know the need for stress relief.” Stress relief is what these dogs are great at.

And, people responded! Boy, did the teams get a response. The Lutheran Church Charities website posted: “Scores of children and people of all ages stopped to relieve the stress of travel by touching, petting, stroking and enjoying the LCC Comfort Dogs. It also allowed [LCC handlers] to answer questions from travelers as to why we are greeting them this holiday season.”

It didn’t matter whether people were delayed in transit, or their flight had been cancelled, or in the middle of lengthy international travel, the Comfort Dogs helped people de-stress and provided comfort—exactly what their name conveys.

God bless these awesome dogs and their handlers. What a tremendous ministry they offer, providing calm, gentle, loving care for many in these busy, stressful, anxious times.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

(Suggestion: visit me at my daily blog for 2015: matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers.   @chaplaineliza And read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er – Thanks!)


 

Dogs Provide Kindness and Comfort to Stressed Travelers (Feature Friday!)

A Year of Being Kind blog – Friday, December 26, 2014

i_am_a_service_dog

Dogs Provide Kindness and Comfort to Stressed Travelers (Feature Friday!)

Today is Friday. The last Friday in December, and the last Friday in 2014. So, today is the last Feature Friday post in the blog A Year of Being Kind.

Have you ever felt stressed in an airport? Stress and anxiety can come from many different places, when a person is at the airport. Take that remembered stress from the airport, and multiply it thousands of times (from the thousands of people who feel stressed and anxious there on a regular basis.)

This week, I am featuring the awesome dogs from the Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Ministries. A number of specially trained golden retrievers and their handlers came to O’Hare International Airport earlier this week, in the days running up to Christmas. Why, you may wonder? Because the dogs are used to providing comfort and care in anxiety-laden circumstances. In this particular case, the dogs greeted the stressed-out travelers. Spent time with them. Were warm and friendly, in that low-key manner that golden retrievers model so well.

“At Christmas, for a lot of people it’s a difficult holiday. It’s a stressful time for some travelers,” as Tim Hetzner, president of Lutheran Church Charities, told The Huffington Post. “If you’ve ever [flown] out of those terminals, you know the need for stress relief.” Stress relief is what these dogs are great at.

And, people responded! Boy, did the teams get a response. The Lutheran Church Charities website posted: “Scores of children and people of all ages stopped to relieve the stress of travel by touching, petting, stroking and enjoying the LCC Comfort Dogs. It also allowed [LCC handlers] to answer questions from travelers as to why we are greeting them this holiday season.”

It didn’t matter whether people were delayed in transit, or their flight had been cancelled, or in the middle of lengthy international travel, the Comfort Dogs helped people de-stress and provided comfort—exactly what their name conveys.

God bless these awesome dogs and their handlers. What a tremendous ministry they offer, providing calm, gentle, loving care for many in these busy, stressful, anxious times.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Being Kind? Long Distance.

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, October 13, 2014

LOVE never fails 1 Cor 13

Being Kind? Long Distance.

A dear, lovely older friend of mine let me know something serious and significant several days ago. She told several others of her acquaintance, too.

It happened quite suddenly. A close family member entered hospice. This is overwhelmingly a matter of great concern, I know. But with my friend, even more so. She told me, because she is flying overseas. Or rather, she flew overseas yesterday to be with many in her extended family at this terribly sad time. And especially with this dear one, in hospice.

She told me, because she asked me for prayer. “Of course!” I said. She knows that there is nothing—medically—that can be done, other than comfort measures. But I certainly will lift her and her whole family in prayer. I have, already, and I will continue to do so.

From time to time, there is very little that can be done for patients. Medically speaking. This can be when the doctors and other medical staff start talking about hospice. I know, because I’ve sat with patients right after they have been told it is recommended that they enter hospice. Or, I’ve been called to a room when a family member has been told that there is nothing else that can be done, medically. If they did not want to see me, I did my best to understand. If the or the patient acted out, or showed some big display of strong emotion, again—I did my best to understand. And, I tried to walk or sit with them for a little while, and to be a quiet, calming, less-anxious presence.

It can be difficult enough if loved ones are close by. Family and other loved ones, coming to the hospital, care center, or home can be, indeed, difficult. But just imagine if you were half a continent away from your loved one in hospice. Or, what is even worse, half a world away? This is the case with my dear friend. This is why I said “Of course!” when I was asked to pray. And—this is why I am providing the kind service for this dear loved one in hospice. Long distance.

Let’s pray. Dear Lord, gracious God, I pray for my dear, sweet friend. Help her to be a blessing for her family. Assist her with caring for her very ill family member. Come along side. Act as a holy Comforter to the whole extended family. Calm anxious, worried hearts. Provide times of awareness and friendship for all who wait, including this beloved one in hospice. In Your mercy, dear Lord, we pray.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Not One Hundred Percent

A Year of Being Kind blog – Thursday, January 9, 2014

hospital patient

Not One Hundred Percent

I didn’t feel one hundred percent today. Sub par. Nevertheless, I dragged myself out of the house this morning. Once I had started the day and was outside, I felt better. (I ought to take my own advice, since that’s what I’ve said to my children for years when they don’t feel very chipper in the morning.)

I had the opportunity to be with a senior for a bit today. This senior needed some assistance and companionship, and I was happy to provide it. We didn’t talk too much, but this senior was content to simply sit with me there as a companion. I was very much aware of the ministry of presence. My being-with this senior was loving and giving of myself.

I know what the ministry of presence is, but some do not. Simply put, it is not a human doing, but instead becoming a human being. Simply being present with another person. I’ve been told by many people that my caring, less-anxious presence can be gentle and calming. Sometimes that’s what anxious or frightened or upset people need. And oftentimes, I provide it.

Several of my former supervisors mentioned this aspect of my character (my giftedness?). I think back to how I began this post, and connected it to a verbatim I wrote for my first chaplain internship. The verbatim concerned a senior couple at the hospital where I did my clinical rotation. However, one of the most distinctive things about that in-depth paper was one of the learning issues that I dealt with at the time. How do I manage to navigate and work when I don’t feel up to par? Not one hundred percent? I was not feeling quite chipper for the clinical day at the hospital, either. Yet God was still able to use me.

I did pray before I went to the floors for my clinical chaplain visits that day. It’s amazing. I wrote this particular verbatim almost ten years ago, yet I can still see and hear portions of the conversation and interaction in my mind. Upon reflection afterwards, I was awed by the openness of both the husband and the patient. God has given me an open heart and open ears to listen to people who are hurting. That’s a big reason why I went to seminary in the first place—to get further training in how to more intelligently, actively listen to people, and to walk with them as they go through difficult places in their lives. I am surprised at how little I did say to both of these dear seniors, reading over the verbatim just now. Yet the couple seemed really happy with my visit, and really wanted me to come back.

This situation in my verbatim was early in my experience as a chaplain. However, even then I used the ministry of presence. Today I come alongside of people, being with them. Sometimes I talk with them, and sometimes I’m quiet. For example, like I was with the senior I helped today. I tried to be a gentle, friendly companion, and I think I succeeded.

@chaplaineliza