Helping A Friend In Need

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, July 15, 2014

God making a way

Helping A Friend In Need

Today was a day to be helpful. And caring. I went to visit a good friend of one of my relatives, in the hospital. He had had a procedure recently, and I said I would go to see him. Wouldn’t you know, when I got there, he had just checked out of the hospital.

But wait—that’s not the end of it! I then called one of his relatives while I was standing there in the hospital lobby. In considerable distress, the relative told me about a serious concern she had. Immediately, I felt my chaplain skills swing into action. Of course I tried to help her to calm down, to try to be less frantic and more relaxed. I asked her for possible choices she might make, and helped her see that she could take some action in the specific situation. And even though she felt weak, she was neither helpless nor powerless.

After traveling back from downtown Chicago, I swung by the friend’s house to check on him. See how he was doing. I didn’t stay very long at all, but I was relieved to see he was resting. Thank goodness, especially since he had just been released from the hospital!

Afterwards, I reflected that I haven’t been coming alongside of people as much, as when I was a chaplain. Then, of course, I helped people in the hospital on a regular basis. Assisted them when they had concerns, facilitated getting answers, prayed for them and their loved ones when they asked, journeyed with them when they needed someone by their sides. Sure, sometimes I do this here at my new job, too! However, my current job is just not as intense a position as the one where I was working in a high-needs, intensive trauma situation.

God knows that I am facing new challenges and new joys in this new position, at the church! But, I really appreciated coming back to the familiar ground of a hospital. And as is often the case, I find that people are people. Their serious concerns still touch me deeply, and it doesn’t matter whether I hear of these concerns by email, over the telephone, on the street, or next to a hospital bed.

I pray that God will be with my friend, his relative, and with all those I know who are suffering and in pain today. Please, God, touch them in a special way today.

@chaplaineliza

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Listen Up! Being Helpful

A Year of Being Kind blog – Wednesday, April 9, 2014

BK one kind word

Listen Up! Being Helpful

Talk about a busy day! Running here, running there. I keep It’s a good thing I cancelled my appointment for a haircut this afternoon, because I am dog-tired. Packing things up at home. Running to work. Several meetings. Doing a couple of errands. Whew! At the end of the day, my feet hurt—and I wear sensible shoes.

But I honestly tried to be helpful and kind. I listened to several people today. I hope they felt my encouragement. I truly tried to show my support. One particular instance was where I needed to respond, too. I hope and pray that I communicated faithfully. As well as listen faithfully, too.

Sometimes it is helpful to just listen. But listen with intentionality. Actively listen, as I’ve been trained to do. I remember the first instance I had formal classes in this. It was in Stephen training, where I learned how to serve as a Stephen Minister. I very much enjoyed this service as a compassionate friend in Christ. I offered a listening ear to hear of someone’s spiritual, emotional and—sometimes—very real physical pain and suffering. Stephen training was excellent. My leaders and teachers communicated effectively, too. And, I felt truly supported and lifted up as I went through a difficult time in my own life, right in the middle of training. (Perhaps that was why God had me in that place at that time. Remind me to ask God about that when I see God, by and by.)

Listening is important for some people, too. I’m thinking especially of those individuals who are sometimes passed over. Ignored. Even criticized or snubbed. I try to listen to just about everyone. I really do. But God knows that I am busy from time to time. I recognize when I need to gently cut someone off. Of course, that was a bit easier when I served as a chaplain in the hospital. When the pager went off, people would well understand that I needed to go, and right away, too!

But, still. I try not to overlook people. I suspect that’s because I have felt overlooked, snubbed and ignored sometimes. Thank God that I can make time to be fully present with and for people. I can even go out of my way to show individuals that I truly care and am interested in them and their activities, their concerns, and especially their feelings.

God, thanks for always taking the time to listen to me, too. You’re never in a hurry, or stressed, or upset. You always concern Yourself with me. With my activities, and especially my feelings. Thanks for lowering my anxiety and distress, God, as well as being right by my side in the good times. You are awesome.

@chaplaineliza

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