Incredible People

This blog is specifically in generalities.  I know it is supposed to be personal.  As you read I pray you will see why it is written in this fashion.

I work with an incredible bunch of people.  As a chaplain I am privileged to walk beside people at the most vulnerable times in their lives.  So many times we are focused on the patients and their families.  However, I want to take a minute to focus on the individuals who appear to blend into the background.  The hospital staff member…“Tracy” for the purposes of this blog, Tracy – is the professional or ancillary staff member.

Tracy is an incredibly, caring, faithful, loving person.  When Tracy walks into a room s/he is walking on sacred ground.  Many times Tracy steps into it, literally!  Sometimes a patient/family is in crisis mode and no amount of caring concern breaks through the stress and anxiety the patient/family is feeling or displaying.

What does Tracy do with that stress and all the emotion that has entered into Tracy’s energy field?  Tracy laughs, cries, cracks jokes-sometimes inappropriate for the patient and family to hear, prays, and the most harmful to Tracy’s well-being-DOUBT.  Tracy has doubts about her ability to care, his ability to be compassionately present, and so many times Tracy questions whether or not s/he is going to Heaven or Hell because of a thought that releases some of the stress.

As a Chaplain, I am supposed to offer words of comfort during times like this.  How do I say, “I know you are doing the best you can and it is okay to feel or think the way you do”?

How do I say, “Your Supreme Being is looking at you and crying, laughing, or just being numb with you…you are not alone?”

So when my words cannot be enough to help you, I say, “I am here, to listen, to cry, to doubt with you…where ever you are right at this moment.”

Bad vs Challenge/d/ing/s

I’ve been thinking about two words bad vs. challenging.   Jim and I have been throwing them around this last week.  When he came home from the doctor he was extremely upset because his cholesterol was so bad.   

As I listened to him I realized he needed some encouragement for the work he has done in changing his lifestyle.  So I suggested he swap out the word bad for challenge/d/ing/s in its different forms.

Now for those of you who are chaplains you know so many times we examine our personal reaction to a situation ……  For the rest of you it’s a nice way of saying “it’s all about what is going on with me not you.”  So I pondered….

As I was talking to him about changing the word bad to challenge/d/ing/s I stopped and laughed at what I have faced this last year.

My weight challenges turned into a new healthier lifestyle – as of this posting I have shed 136 pounds.  Is that bad??? I don’t think so.

My challenging struggle with a faith tradition ended when I found a faith tradition more in line with my beliefs.  I’m glad for the struggle that brought me to a new faith home.

I have been challenged the most with my body image and my newfound inner female self!!!  Ok, so now I’m a girlie girl and like make-up, hair dye, and Lord forbid nice nails!

Definitely challenges that will continue to stretch me in ways I can only imagine.

Does any of this sound familiar to you?  What challenge/d/ing/s thoughts, changes, etc. are you facing or have faced?

Yesternight

Yesternight a word to describe Thursday night when I worked.  We have “yesterday” which doesn’t describe the time I was working.  So I have formed a new word “yesternight“.  If you or someone you know has already formed and/or claimed the word please take credit for the formation and let me know.

I came up with this word when I was reading a comment on Facebook from Shelby, a person I worked with the other night.  “Yesternight” helped me to put in perspective the timing of when I saw Charlie last.

Yesternight not last night which for some can be part of the current night, but the night 24 hours ago.

Yesternight can help Andie, whose shift starts in the evening and goes into the middle of the night or the morning.  “Last night” can be part of Terry’s tonight.  Making yesternight the actual time Albie worked before the current shift.

Let’s see how long it takes “yesternight” to come into use.  Let’s see if we can make this a new word for the dictionary.  What do you think?   Do you have any additional descriptions that could be attached to yesternight to help with the definition?

Why???

Why is it when I am trying to get back to sleep every little noise sounds louder than one of the low flying airplanes from the military base?

Working nights has its challenges.  One is the ability to receive good rest while the world is awake.  Today the phone rang, then the cell phone went off, and when I ignored both of those someone rang my doorbell.  Now the doorbell is loud but it is amplified by three dogs barking and trying to break the door down to get whom ever has decided to keep their finger on the door bell, because obviously the three dogs barking would not wake up the dead!!!

Sarcasm is so lovely when it is the middle of the night and I am trying to get much-needed sleep.  So here I sit, trying to get back to my zen place so I can go back to sleep.  I will resist the urge to count how many hours it is until I have to be at work.  That will only make matters worse.

Jim and I leave for Washington in a month.  A much-needed vacation in which I have the privilege of officiating a dear friend’s wedding.  We’ll be taking the Pacific coastal highway and we have decided to sleep on the beach as we travel.   I’ll be taking lots of pictures for Facebook and this blog.

I must say I think I like the idea of blogging my random thoughts.  What started out as a class project is turning into a therapeutic endeavor.  What do you like to blog about?  What excites or interests you?

Tweet If You [Heart] Jesus — Post Two

After reading chapters 4-6 of Tweet If You [Heart] Jesus by Elizabeth Drescher I decided to answer a couple of the questions from Chapter 4.

The formats I used before I started the class were Facebook and Youtube.  Many great videos have been made for YouTube.

I didn’t always engage on Facebook, but hung back and watched.  Some of this is due to comments that became very personal, disrespectful, and downright mean.  However, I am regaining trust in commenting, but it takes time to rebuild a sense of safety.  I think this is important no matter what technological medium is used.

For the local church YouTube is beneficial with music videos.  The YouTube videos help to bring the sacredness of music into the worship liturgy.

For my ministry at the hospital, it was helpful last week when I posted a blog about a spiritually and emotionally heavy night and the blog automatically posted to my Facebook page.  It gave me a place to say “this was an exhausting yet exhilarating experience.”  Exhausting due to the situation, and exhilarating knowing I was right where I needed to be in order to help someone by simply being the “hands and feet of Jesus” to that person.

I agree with Elizabeth when she says it is all about building relationships (paraphrased).

It seems we can build truly intimate relationships that are meaningful in Facebook or what ever medium is used by mainstream society.  When you think of Facebook what kind of relationships come to mind?

By the Grace of God

I am the night staff chaplain at the local hospital.  Last night I sat with a person whose life mate had died a few hours before.  Shelby (I won’t use the person’s name for his or her privacy) discussed in detail the events of the evening that lead up to the life change for Shelby.

As I sat and listened to Shelby I kept thinking that “by the grace of God” you are here and relatively healthy.  By the grace of God my life mate will be waiting for me when I get off work.

The phrase “by the grace of God” has so many daunting implications.  As a chaplain the phrase can bring comfort to patients and families in times of crisis.   The phrase can also remind us there are times when there is no explanation other than “by the grace of God.”

As a chaplain when I walk into a patient’s room my belief system stays at the door.  I walk with the patient where that person is in the faith/spiritual journey.  Sometimes terminology will trip up a patient and family and what could have been words of comfort only brings more pain.  Listening to the patient and family discuss how they are coping is important to know what terminology and phrases are appropriate.

So “by the grace of God” I thank God for my life mate.  The person I have been married to for 35 years.

By the grace of God … Can you fill in the … from your own life?

One of the Challenges of Working Nights

After reading Bruce Reyes-Chow’s post, 101 Blog posting ideas for pastors and other church geeks I struggled with what to write about, even with the 101 blogging ideas. 

I’m a hospital chaplain and working nights has its challenges.  One of the most obvious is the lack of sunlight.  I mention this because for me the nights can run into one another and before I know it I am at the end of the week and I don’t know the day.  My concept of time is challenged and I seldom feel I know the exact day.

For example, here I sit on Wednesday morning trying to figure out what I am going to blog about because I realized last night that I am coming upon the end of the class week.  This is so true with everything in life.  I’ll be thinking I need to remember to call someone and the next thing I know it is the end of the week and I have not made an important connection.

This morning as I am writing this blog I am fighting to stay awake.  Technically, it is only 10:45; however, I passed the time I normally go to bed awhile ago.  So I am struggling to stay awake and to write something that makes sense; because once I am in sleep mode I do not think clearly.

While losing track of days is a challenge so is losing time.  I’ll make an appointment and if I do not put it on my calendar the chances are pretty good I’ll forget and need to reschedule.  I had two doctors’ appointments a few weeks back and I missed both of them because I didn’t have them on my calendar.

That is just one of the challenges of working nights.  Since I am falling asleep as I write I do believe I’ll say goodnight for now.

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