Body Mind Spirit

Being a Hospice Chaplain is kind of like working at the DMV – I work with people from all walks of life, from all socio-economic backgrounds and varied levels of spirituality. It has changed me. My “black and white” thinking has lessened. I am much more open and accepting, and less judgmental of others. I have had a front row seat to the “winding up scenes” of some pretty amazing people!

I have a patient who is just 59-years-old who is dying of cancer. He is bedbound, weak and not communicating much. He was in the military and his MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) was EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal Specialist) – like my son Austin’s. His wife said he knew things were getting serious” when she told him that the Chaplain would be coming to see him. We connected instantly. He readily expressed that he believed in God, but wasn’t very religious. His wife shared some great stories about their lives together. At the end of the visit, I sang the song, “Jesus loves me”, and he whispered the words along with me. The Spirit in the room was electric.

One of my patients has had a pretty “colorful” life. His path has been strewn with drugs, alcohol, broken relationships, and pride. He doesn’t belong to any organized religion, but he believes in God and in Jesus. In previous visits we’d been talking a lot about prayer and his realization that very soon, he would be meeting God. Recently, I had an amazing visit with this man! During our time together, he had a lot of questions about his regrets and the guilt he’s been feeling. We got to talk about the pain he’s caused others, and brainstorm ways he could apologize and make amends to the people he’s harmed he’s unable to do so.

When patients are on Hospice care, it’s not only their bodies that need attention, it’s their minds and their spirits too. As a Chaplain, my role is to facilitate these types of conversations. I love that I get to do this sacred work every day.