Friday, May 29, 2009

The Good Servant

My latest column, about chaplains ministering through their own grief, is up over at Hope and Healing.

This topic is newly resonant for me, since I've returned to volunteering as a chaplain after my father's death. During my shift this week, I chatted with a security guard I've known for years now. He was curious about why he hadn't seen me for a while, so I filled him in on our family dramas these last six months. His eyes widened, and he said, "But you can still come here, to be positive for other people."

I explained that being at the hospital makes me feel better, for the reasons I describe in the column, and also that I'm better equipped to deal with grieving patients and family now, since I'm walking in those shoes myself. The guard nodded solemnly.

I've found this at work too, though, or even in the grocery store: when you say that your dad just died, people get it. This isn't a grief anyone has to suffer in isolation. Almost all of us will lose our parents -- unless, tragically, we die before them, the situation the chaplain in the column was facing -- and everyone who does will have to get on with life. It's a real blessing that so many other people know the territory.

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