In Which I Feel Sad, But Still Try to Be Kind

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, October 7, 2014

blue flowers

In Which I Feel Sad, But Still Try to Be Kind

I tried to be kind today. I truly did.

Since today was Tuesday, I read to the preschoolers and kindergarteners this morning. (That always makes me happy!) I answered a number of emails, responded to several items of business, and personally wrote thank you notes to all of the businesses that were kind enough to give raffle prizes to St. Luke’s Church—for the Spaghetti Dinner last Saturday. Busy day at work today!

But, that was not all. I found out about a dear senior today who is not in very good health. Dear, dear senior saint. I feel for this senior so deeply. I have been calling and visiting on a regular basis, over the past number of weeks. And I feel discouraged. Deeply sad.

Over the last ten years, I have known a number of people who became sick and died. Some over a long period of time, others more quickly. Some even suddenly, traumatically. It doesn’t particularly matter why they died, except for the fact that they did die.

I’ve been a chaplain for most of the past ten years. I’ve seen trauma, gun shots, stabbings, heart attacks, strokes, broken hips. Patients in the Intensive Care Unit and the Emergency Department, as well as in Extended Care and even after they’ve been released. And some of the saddest, most heartbreaking situations of all, when I was paged to Labor and Delivery for an emergency call. (For some reason, these calls are often in the middle of the night.) So, I’ve seen sadness. I have journeyed with patients and their loved ones down these heartbreaking paths.

The current, continuing situation with this dear senior is—sadly—not new to me. And yet, it is. Each individual brings a different aspect to this circle of life. I cannot help but think of others who have passed on. Crossed that river. Died.

I’ve been asked, point blank, what happens after we die. I do not really know. (Other than some tiny glimpses the Bible gives to us. And, most of them can be construed as allegorical.) I do know that I will be with God. And beyond that? I don’t particularly care. I’m held in God’s hand. That’s perfectly all right.

So, yes. I did do some kind things today. Some useful and helpful things, too. However, my day was (and is) colored by sadness. Grayness. Anticipatory grief, grieving the dear person I used to know. Hoping against hope that this senior will have a good day tomorrow.

Isn’t that all we can wish, for each of us? Each person. Each individual. I pray that each of us might have a good day tomorrow. And, good rest at the end of the day. God willing.

@chaplaineliza

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Serving By Choosing Books

A Year of Being Kind blog – Wednesday, April 23, 2014

kidsbookopener

Serving By Choosing Books

For those of you who don’t know, I have four children. My youngest child just turned seventeen years old today. So, I can still remember those days of diapers and bottles, teething and banged-up knees. It’s just those days are getting further and further away. But I still remember, and as I revisit those days, I find I still enjoy being with small children. Happy for me, since there is a preschool onsite at my new job.

Yes, I am a mom. This was the way I used to describe myself. Up until a dozen years ago, that was the primary activity or purpose I used to associate with me. In fact, on occasion, when I’d go to parties or get-togethers at my older sister’s fancy house, her friends and acquaintances would sometimes ask me, “And what do you do?” Truthfully enough, I would be somewhat embarrassed. My answer would usually be, “My sister—and my older siblings? They have advanced degrees. I have children.” I’d say this in a humorous tone, and the people who asked me would often laugh.

But not any more. A dozen years ago, I started a master’s degree program, and three years later I received a master’s in divinity degree. Since then, I have had exciting and interesting experiences in the church, in hospitals and care centers, and at inpatient detox units and rehab centers.

However—I am still a mom. I still love my children very much, even though God has led me through a variety of challenging experiences. Now, in my current position as interim co-pastor, I find I have the opportunity to interact with preschoolers and kindergarten children each week. I read to two of the rooms of children yesterday. I was surprised to see that there were not too many books for the children to read. Of course, I tried to choose the very best of what was there. And I enjoyed being with the children, a great deal! That was the most important thing, of course.

This evening, I took the opportunity to go to a local library in the next town. They have a lovely used book area, where the Friends of the Library sell gently used books for only a small amount of money. This way, the library gets some badly needed money, people get really nice books, and the cost is really quite economical.

I went to the children’s section of the book area. I haven’t looked extensively at children’s picture books for some years. Such colorful, interesting books! I chose eleven (only fifty cents apiece!), and I’ll be more than happy to present them to the preschool director tomorrow, when I go to the church to work. I suspect the children—and the teachers—will be very pleased to have a fresh supply of books.

Yay, God! Thanks for the good idea, to go to such a place and get books. I’m so excited! I can hardly wait to see the faces of the boys and girls. It’s so wonderful to be able to bring a happy surprise with me.

@chaplaineliza

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