Serving, at the Waning of the Year (#BestOf)

(the Best of) A Year of Being Kind, Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Serving? Being kind? Being helpful? Yes. I try to be all those things. As I reread this blog entry, I thought of the difficulty many families have—mourning over a holiday. In subsequent years, the death will oftentimes be inextricably mingled with the holiday celebration. And in this particular case, I hope and pray I was a decent minister to this small family. I did not even know them, but I responded in their time of need. God, wherever they are at this Thanksgiving time, comfort and encourage them.

 

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Serving, at the Waning of the Year

autumn candles

As I sat in my office, I was surprised by a sudden telephone call. I was asked to officiate at a funeral service, with very short notice.

I was happy to be able to do it. To have the opportunity to do it. And, it also was another opportunity to be of service. To use my multifaceted training and abilities, and to come alongside of these dear people who mourn.

Just as 1 Peter 4:10 says, “Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.” I not only have received the spiritual gifts of encouragement, mercy, pastor/teacher, and helps, I also have chaplain training, and Clinical Pastoral Care. I stepped up to the plate, and I offered what I could to the loved ones who mourned. I pray for them, and hope that God is with them in this special, tender, painful time.

Yes, I cried today. Not only did I observe a family in the midst of a memorable experience, I felt with them. I saw them grieve. And, I pray that I was able to be a comfort and a support for them.

I keep coming back to this, again and again. With the waning of the year. Just as I mentioned last week. Taking stock, as in Psalm 90:12. The psalmist calls us all to “number our days.” I thought of this dear person who died several days ago. Even though I didn’t mention this verse at the funeral, I thought of it, to myself. I considered both the end of the year as well as the end of a long life. Gathering in the harvest, taking an inventory, reckoning up the deeds done for God.

We are about to begin the circle of the liturgical year, again, with the beginning of Advent. Yes, I can prepare myself to say “Come quickly, Lord Jesus!” Yet, I am not quite ready. Yes, I acted as a chaplain today, and used my pastoral care gifts and skills. Thank God I have them! But, Advent isn’t here, yet. I’m not quite there yet.

Soon. I am still at the point of numbering my days. Soon enough, I’ll be thankful. (Tomorrow, in fact.) And then, soon enough, the time of preparation, of Advent. But not yet. Soon.

@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!)

Serving, at the Waning of the Year

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, November 25, 2014

autumn candles

Serving, at the Waning of the Year

As I sat in my office, I was surprised by a sudden telephone call. I was asked to officiate at a funeral service, with very short notice.

I was happy to be able to do it. To have the opportunity to do it. And, it also was another opportunity to be of service. To use my multifaceted training and abilities, and to come alongside of these dear people who mourn.

Just as 1 Peter 4:10 says, “Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.” I not only have received the spiritual gifts of encouragement, mercy, pastor/teacher, and helps, I also have chaplain training, and Clinical Pastoral Care. I stepped up to the plate, and I offered what I could to the loved ones who mourned. I pray for them, and hope that God is with them in this special, tender, painful time.

Yes, I cried today. Not only did I observe a family in the midst of a memorable experience, I felt with them. I saw them grieve. And, I pray that I was able to be a comfort and a support for them.

I keep coming back to this, again and again. With the waning of the year. Just as I mentioned last week. Taking stock, as in Psalm 90:12. The psalmist calls us all to “number our days.” I thought of this dear person who died several days ago. Even though I didn’t mention this verse at the funeral, I thought of it, to myself. I considered both the end of the year as well as the end of a long life. Gathering in the harvest, taking an inventory, reckoning up the deeds done for God.

We are about to begin the circle of the liturgical year, again, with the beginning of Advent. Yes, I can prepare myself to say “Come quickly, Lord Jesus!” Yet, I am not quite ready. Yes, I acted as a chaplain today, and used my pastoral care gifts and skills. Thank God I have them! But, Advent isn’t here, yet. I’m not quite there yet.

Soon. I am still at the point of numbering my days. Soon enough, I’ll be thankful. (Tomorrow, in fact.) And then, soon enough, the time of preparation, of Advent. But not yet. Soon.

@chaplaineliza

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

Got Concerns? Be of Service!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Thursday, July 17, 2014

Peace John 14-27

Got Concerns? Be of Service!

Yesterday evening, I heard a dear acquaintance of mine was in the hospital. I needed to take care of some necessary personal stuff this morning (including getting a check-up on my tooth extraction, which I found is healing nicely!). Later in the morning, I tried to track down my friend, making several telephone calls. I was successful! I met with my friend this afternoon. We had a nice (and brief) visit; I do hope everything will be going well at the rehab center from now on.

Sure, I had concerns! Of course I was wondering what was happening! Yes. Not only for my friend, but also for myself (and my tooth). And, those were only two of the things I did. But even though I did some necessary business today, I still was able to check on my friend. I did not allow my concerns to paralyze me and cause me unnecessary distress or anxiety. I was able to deal with these several concerns, using my less-anxious presence. (Thank you, chaplain training!)

I remember a situation some years ago, when I only had my first two daughters. The older had just finished kindergarten. My younger one was three. Our family attended a church for the first time. Then, coffee hour time! (Cookie hour, my children called it.) The girls were running around in the church basement with the other Sunday school children. Wouldn’t you know that my oldest took a flying leap off the stage. (She was very athletic.) She landed on her feet, no problem. But she had too much momentum. She continued in a forward direction, and crash-landed on her face and hands. Crying ensued. Plus—she chipped her brand-new top front teeth.

I was only a few dozen feet away, so I came to her side. The pastor’s wife was a registered nurse, so she wasn’t far behind me. She checked out my daughter, who—other than being a bit surprised by her accidental meeting with the floor—was quite all right. The pastor’s wife remarked to me afterwards she was surprised that my daughter’s crying subsided so quickly. She looked at me more closely, and made a discerning statement. She said my calm, quiet demeanor in such a traumatic situation really helped my daughter to calm and quiet herself. I was amazed at her words. (And I still remember them, about twenty-five years later.)

Amazing, prescient words. And look at me now! God has led me through seminary, into chaplain training and service. Now, into pastoral ministry. Thank God I can be there for people like my friend at the rehab center, today. And, thank God I have been trained to use my natural less-anxious presence effectively, in a number of situations. God, how are You going to lead me to serve tomorrow? I suspect it will be interesting, whatever it is.

@chaplaineliza

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