This is a prayer for chaplains and spiritual companions to share as they walk alongside those who struggle with chronic illness.
“I love being the hands and feet of Jesus. I love being the church where the church is not. Chaplains are called to the deepest, darkest, ugliest parts of human depravity. Special moments of grace remind me of why I'm here."
I had the privilege of taking a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services. At the conclusion of our time together, each of us students wrote a "final evaluation". Here are some excerpts from mine.
Gordon first met John a few months ago, when John was dying of cancer. John was a crusty and profane old man, a veteran and a recovering alcoholic, uninterested in God or religion. As a hospice chaplain, Gordon often met patients like John, and most of the time they wanted nothing to do with chaplains. John was different, though.
This was my first conference (I started working in the Chaplaincy and Care Ministry office five months ago), and I had not met any of our chaplains, but even so this conference felt like coming home.
I’m more comfortable with answers than questions, authority than weakness, and qualification by academic degree than qualification by suffering. But I’m learning that effectiveness in chaplaincy requires me to walk into the circle of my discomfort.