An updated blanket blessing story.

Back in February, I wrote about blessing blankets in one of our Intensive Care Units. I said that as I touched each blanket, I said something like this:

“God, the next time a Chaplain sees these blankets, a person will be dying. These will be touched by patient techs and nurses, family members and respiratory therapists, and a person who will not live much longer. God, will you care for each of those people as they offer care, as they wrestle in these moments? Will you give them peace that passes understanding, courage for loving one another? And will you let people know that you love them? In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

The other day, I was in a room with a woman who, as her family said, “was a strong Christian woman.” I prayed for her and for them. I stood with them as the breathing tube was removed. I stood with them for awhile, then walked out of the building with one of the family members.

I walked back into the room and started talking with the remaining family member. While we talked, the door slid open and a patient tech walked in carrying a blanket. It was bright yellow with purple edges.

I just laughed.

“Would your mom like the bright colors?” I asked.

The adult child smiled and nodded.

I laughed, and I cried a little, because I remembered the blanket. It was one that, as I was moving it from one pile to another as I prayed, I said, “God, let that one go to someone who needs it.” Because who, in those last hours, wants a blanket that bright?

It turns out that I needed that blanket in that week, on that shift, in that room. I was the chaplain that I had prayed for.

2 thoughts on “An updated blanket blessing story.

  1. Bill Lee

    Jon, I hope that it helps a little knowing there are many of us who often think of and pray for you and others whose role it is to bring support and comfort.

    “Thoughts and prayers” has worn a little thin and are not a substitute for action but it are something that we can all still do.



    1. Jon Swanson

      You know, Bill, there are the big “move heaven and earth” kinds of miracles that we often want. And those are cool. But no one exactly asks God for “move the blanket” kinds of miracles. And yet those are the events and actions and surprises that give courage and encouragement. Those are the whispers that remind us – or at least remind me – that God is present and aware. So talking with God about each other matters.


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