Thursday, 7 April 2011
Hope and death- Sally's poem
Hope and death
It took me back 16 or 17 years to a time when I was a part time assistant chaplain at a hospice.
I found it a difficult but enormously fulfilling role.The people I tried, imperfectly, to minister to knew they were dying.
Many wanted no spiritual comfort from me,others wanted a miracle of healing,still others accepted their situation and simply wanted someone to walk with them on the journey.It was my immense privilege simply to be there
I can still remember many of them Bill,Jean and Joyce among others. They gave me so much more than I gave them and a number renewed a long abandoned faith, and some found faith for the first time.
I especially love the line in Sally's poem "She was the spiritual giant in the room" because it sums up what I so often felt.
Opening a door into a room where a patient lies dying is a tough thing to do . Perhaps I was not very good at it.Sometimes people were angry ,sometimes inconsolable,sometimes simply frightened but occasionally they were full of faith and joy knowing they were beginning a new and great adventure into Gods closer presence
They were the spiritual giants in the room!
The hospice also taught me the value of listening and the value of being vulnerable. I may not be good at these things but I would be a lot worse without this experience
After a few years with the demands of a growing church and family I gave it up but I am always glad I did it To be honest I learned more about pastoral work there than in 7 years of theological education!