I never really know what’s going to happen when I walk into a hospital room. Or better, I never really know what’s happening and how I’m going to enter in
In my almost best moments, I forget what happened in the previous room and what’s going to happen in the next room. I walk in ready to listen. I look around carefully, I ask thoughtful questions, I respond with appropriate levels of energy and encouragement and empathy.
In my worst moments, I remember what I should forget and I forget what I should remember. I carry worries from room to room like viruses, ready to infect people with pat answers and trite prayer.
In my best moments, I’m surprised and a little uncertain about walking into the room, responding as I did to the tiniest nudge, the odd pull back into the room I just passed. There was a split second of eye contact that draws me or the whisper that says, “turn left” or “turn right.”
But in truth, this isn’t about chaplaincy at all. This is about all of the conversations each of us has when we are wanting, somehow, to help people out in moments of crisis.This is about the conversations we have when try to respond to Jesus’ invitation to love one another, to His challenge to care for and about.
Today, I have one simple piece of advice. Even at our worst moments, we are still offering our presence to other people. We are still walking out of ourselves into the path of others where the Holy Spirit can, in ways that I do not understand, help through us.
So here’s the advice.
Somewhere. Anywhere. Across the sofa or the room or the block or the world. Intersect with someone.