Praying for a Kind Solution in an Unjust World

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, November 24, 2014

JUSTICE do, think

Praying for a Kind Solution in an Unjust World

I looked at Twitter tonight, after things really broke loose. What I saw there made my heart break.

For those of you who have not been following the news in the past few days (or weeks), the Grand Jury made its decision, concerning the (white) police officer who killed a (black) teenager several months ago. The Grand Jury found the police officer not guilty on all five counts.

After viewing the reactions for some fifteen minutes (and clicking on a few links), I posted my own response on Twitter: “St Francis’s prayer comes to mind: “Lord make me an instrument of your peace.” Praying for justice, clarity of mind, open ears. #Ferguson

I do not have much else to say, other than 1) thank you to Michael Brown’s family for recommending that people find positive, responsible ways to change society and change the justice system; 2) God be with everyone who is on the streets tonight, no matter who or where they may be—protect each one; 3) some fool was foolish enough to release the grand jury findings so late in the day. (Foolish, to the nth degree!)

That’s all. Except, with this addendum. I ask God to allow cooler, more sober heads to prevail. And, I repeat a portion of my tweet, “Praying for justice, clarity of mind, open ears.”

Dear Lord, help me to be of service to all those who are struggling for justice in an unjust world. On many, many fronts. So be it, Lord!


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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.