Being Kind, with an Assist from a Football Game

A Year of Being Kind blog – Sunday, November 9, 2014

BK life is short-be kind

Being Kind, with an Assist from a Football Game

This was a busy day for me. Every Sunday is full. No Sabbath rest for me, no sir! I need to find another way to take a Sabbath. But more about that in another post.

After Sunday service, a piano lesson, and a brief stop at a store, I went to visit a family at a care center. I had the opportunity to talk at length with two family members. One, in particular. A pro football game played in the background while we talked. One, or the other, or both of us would check out the game while we were in serious conversation. It was a good time. I think I might even say it was a relaxed time.

As the fourth quarter ticked down, the game heated up. The family member asked me whether I enjoyed football. Sure, I said! Except I hadn’t watched much pro football for over ten years. Probably even twenty. College ball, yes. But not pro ball. However—the game drew us both in. As I said, I had no loyalty to either team playing. But, I enjoyed a hard-fought contest! That it certainly was. Good game. Well played, by most everyone concerned, too.

Yes, I bonded with the family member before I started to really pay attention to the game. We had some deep conversation, and talked about serious matters. I very much appreciated our talk and the time we had together. However—the time where the football game took center stage? That was a different time of bonding. I did enjoy watching that game in company with both family members.

After the game, I had a time just talking with their loved one in the care center. I prayed, too. That time was special to me.

As people journey on this path through life, sometimes there are bumps. Sometimes smooth—steady as she goes. But always interesting. Always something going on, no matter how big, no matter how insignificant.

May God bless this dear family. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayers.

 

@chaplaineliza

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Being Kind, on an Anniversary!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Wednesday, August 13, 2014

LOVE 1 Cor 13-7

Being Kind, on an Anniversary!

Today is my anniversary. Or, to be completely correct, today is my wedding anniversary. (My husband’s, too.) I remember the day of our wedding. A downright hot day in Chicago. The church wasn’t air-conditioned. Neither was my sister’s Victorian-era house, which was several doors down from the church. At least the wedding was at eleven o’clock in the morning, so it hadn’t gotten too hot yet. A small, modest affair. Just what my husband and I wanted.

But that was twenty years ago. Fast forward to today. Back to the workaday world. The earlier part of the day was filled with regular work-stuff. I mean, telephone calls made, emails sent, the fall schedule firmed up. I checked two fliers/bulletin inserts from last year and updated them with proper information and new dates. (Important!)

I also made a visit to a care center to visit a senior. Good visit! All the way around. I enjoy these visits where people are feeling pretty perky. (I mean, generally. Of course, the visit was to a care center, so people are not feeling their best. But, still.) Visiting people who are getting healthy and going to leave the hospital or care center soon is certainly much more heartening than visiting in an ICU or emergency department.

I realize, as a chaplain, I had a responsibility to do my best to come alongside of people in serious or traumatic health care situations. But I have shifted my care. Shifted my priorities. I am not working with people who are so seriously ill. I don’t deal with their loved ones on a regular basis, trying to come alongside of them as they reframe the patients’ life situations. Instead, my work is now a local parish. A small, intimate congregation.

But after I finished at the care center today, I ran several errands and ended up at the grocery store. I decided to buy my husband a small cake for our anniversary. As long as he is very fond of yellow cake with chocolate icing, I knew the store nearby would be sure to have one. And, sure enough. They even had a one-layer cake available, so I didn’t have to get a big two-layer cake. (too much!)

My husband was happy to see the cake. Plus, my son (senior in high school) and his two friends were even more pleased to see it, and to eat some, too. (The chocolate icing was superb, as well!) So, I fed some hungry stomachs today. Another way of thinking about it is, I was kind to four hungry guys.

Good memories. Good cake. All in all, a good anniversary.

@chaplaineliza

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Be Kind? Encourage and Comfort!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, July 28, 2014

sun behind clouds over water

Be Kind? Encourage and Comfort!

I was pastoral today. How, you ask? I paid two pastoral visits to two seniors.

Both visits were much appreciated. Both visits involved active listening, a less-anxious presence, and being receptive to whatever came up. One visit was fairly short. The other was much longer. And, both dear people told me straight up that they were grateful and thankful I visited.

How simple a thing it is to go to a care center or to a person’s home, and visit with them for a bit. (Or even, for a little longer.) I know I can follow the many suggestions written in the Bible in a myriad of ways, but visiting sick friends is a sure fire way. Let’s take another look at my verse for July, James 1:22. “Be doers of the Word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.” Visiting those who are sick and homebound is definitely in the ballpark of doing what our Lord Jesus did. If I use my gifts and skills of encouragement, comfort and a less-anxious presence, I am doing the Word. Just like the apostle James urged us to do! This is a loving and encouraging thing for most people to do, too.

But because of my job—my profession—I find myself in care centers and hospitals much more often than I would like. Plus, I have been trained specifically to minister to people in these settings. Because I find myself in these stressful and even traumatic situations, managing my own emotions is of paramount importance, too.

As I think back on my two visits today, I consider being open and receptive to whatever came up an important part of my being present with them. Of course, nothing really out of the ordinary happened at either visit today. But, you never know. In my years as a chaplain, a number of unexpected, or even occasionally, shocking things happened. I have been present quite a number of times as someone has slowly stopped breathing, and their heart has stopped pumping. Usually, I joined family members and loved ones. But some of the time, I was the only one able or available to stay and be with people as they died. So they would not be alone.

But it doesn’t have to be so traumatic. I’ve been in hospital and rehab center rooms along with small children. (Often unpredictable! And sometimes, amusing! Kids say the darnedest things.) A few times, I can remember occasions when a patient would have almost everyone rolling on the floor, they would have such a way with them. Telling jokes, cracking wise. And, I remember when people were very much afraid. Terrified. That’s both patients as well as their loved ones. I would do my very best to remain less-anxious. Not display my difficulty or dis-ease. (Or is it un-ease?)

God, thank You for these two dear seniors. I pray for them and their families, and all who love them and care for them. In Your mercy, Lord, hear my prayer.

@chaplaineliza

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