Being Kind? Long Distance.

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, October 13, 2014

LOVE never fails 1 Cor 13

Being Kind? Long Distance.

A dear, lovely older friend of mine let me know something serious and significant several days ago. She told several others of her acquaintance, too.

It happened quite suddenly. A close family member entered hospice. This is overwhelmingly a matter of great concern, I know. But with my friend, even more so. She told me, because she is flying overseas. Or rather, she flew overseas yesterday to be with many in her extended family at this terribly sad time. And especially with this dear one, in hospice.

She told me, because she asked me for prayer. “Of course!” I said. She knows that there is nothing—medically—that can be done, other than comfort measures. But I certainly will lift her and her whole family in prayer. I have, already, and I will continue to do so.

From time to time, there is very little that can be done for patients. Medically speaking. This can be when the doctors and other medical staff start talking about hospice. I know, because I’ve sat with patients right after they have been told it is recommended that they enter hospice. Or, I’ve been called to a room when a family member has been told that there is nothing else that can be done, medically. If they did not want to see me, I did my best to understand. If the or the patient acted out, or showed some big display of strong emotion, again—I did my best to understand. And, I tried to walk or sit with them for a little while, and to be a quiet, calming, less-anxious presence.

It can be difficult enough if loved ones are close by. Family and other loved ones, coming to the hospital, care center, or home can be, indeed, difficult. But just imagine if you were half a continent away from your loved one in hospice. Or, what is even worse, half a world away? This is the case with my dear friend. This is why I said “Of course!” when I was asked to pray. And—this is why I am providing the kind service for this dear loved one in hospice. Long distance.

Let’s pray. Dear Lord, gracious God, I pray for my dear, sweet friend. Help her to be a blessing for her family. Assist her with caring for her very ill family member. Come along side. Act as a holy Comforter to the whole extended family. Calm anxious, worried hearts. Provide times of awareness and friendship for all who wait, including this beloved one in hospice. In Your mercy, dear Lord, we pray.


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Of Service? With Patients—and Patience

A Year of Being Kind blog – Thursday, July 31, 2014

FAITH help me trust God

Of Service? With Patients—and Patience

This blog is called “A Year of Being Kind: 365 Days of Service.” Now, after seven months of striving for God’s presence with me in what I do and say (not to mention what I think!), I am starting to truly feel God with me, as a general rule. It is particularly wonderful when I ask the question “how can I be of service today?” automatically now. Just pops right out of my mouth. Happened twice today. Stunning way to live for and serve our God.

What about this afternoon? I made a number of telephone calls, and a pastoral visit to a health facility. I prayed beforehand, and I hope I was an encouragement to those I contacted.

God surprises me, too, with God-incidences. I responded to an email today, and I think I used encouraging and supportive words. I tried to convey a real spirit of helping and service. God had another email ready for me this evening. I opened that second email, and, wow! A continuing healthcare situation I’ve been praying about for many, many months? I opened that email and looked at the contents—and was moved to tears. I can tell you that God is able. God can work in hospital rooms as well as people’s hearts.

God gives patience. Sometimes when I really need it, God sends it. In the case of this continuing situation, it is pretty serious. But, God is right smack in the middle of it. Yes, I am acquainted with the whole family, from another state. Yes, there was and still is a ton of email support. My friends with the situation have awesome prayer and comfort coming their way on a continuing basis. Every day, someone is praying for that family. And tonight, when my friend sent another of the regular email updates of the ups and downs of the continuing health condition, I was sincerely moved. Choked up.

Yes, people perform some extraordinary acts of courage, persistence, and patience. Like my friends. And I can be of assistance, too. I can continue to pray. I can send cards. And, God willing, God will keep me on track. Ready to ask “where can I help today?” Plus, ready to answer, respond or give praise to God? That, too.

God, please continue to open my heart to this long-distance heathcare situation. Thanks for the number of hopeful and positive months of communication! May they continue.


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Being Kind While Assembling a Puzzle?

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

KIND another one kind word

Being Kind While Assembling a Puzzle?

There are lots of new things to learn when a person gets a new job. Even when a person knows how to do the component parts of the position, still. I compare it to putting the pieces together like a jigsaw puzzle. Sure, I know most of these various parts of my new position, but I have just barely gotten started. I suppose I am still turning all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle over, and starting to put the border together. (to take the analogy a bit further, that is)

I’ve learned so much from so many different places! For example, I started learning visitation in earnest when I was a chaplain intern at a large retirement center. That was more than ten years ago, when I attended seminary.

I still remember the first resident I visited. The frail, elderly senior was in the health care unit. My chaplain supervisor encouraged me to visit this dear person, and gave me a little background on the senior’s physical and mental condition. The senior’s spine was chronically, increasingly bent and deformed. The mental condition was deteriorating, too, although simple language and communication still were effective. I spoke gently and cheerfully to this person, talking about my small children. My younger two were in primary grades at the time. I got very little feedback, but I knew this senior recognized I was there. I tried to be a gentle yet cheerful presence, yet I wondered afterwards how effective I could possibly have been. I remember talking about this visit with my supervisor afterwards, too. He encouraged me to continue—and continue I did.

This was where I started to learn about how to be present with people, in a gentle, caring way. I found I have a real ability in this area. Several chaplain and pastoral supervisors have told me about it, especially how I am able to be with people in a calm, less-anxious way. Not always, of course. But as I am with people, I discover this calm, gentle manner just sort of switches on. And happens.

So, I know how to be with people in serious, even traumatic situations, from my years of serving as a chaplain. I can see how this skill will be applicable to my new position, from time to time. Even more often sometimes. Like today—I was present with someone and encouraged them just by being there. I did not say too much. However, I heard them thank me, heard the appreciation in their voice. That’s satisfaction, to be sure. And I suspect my being with people, my gentle, caring presence is a large part of my job—of the puzzle that makes up my new position.

This living one-day-at-a-time business sure is interesting! I wonder what God will send me tomorrow?

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