With all of the ministers in your family, I would have thought you would have picked an incident that involved professional spiritual caregiving. However, the one you shared is wonderful. It was serendipitous, compassionate, simple, and profound. I sometimes worry that our/my attempts at sophisticated ministry get in the way of our natural caregiving. Our next door neighbor is a22-year-old who has downs syndrome and autism. Her spontaneity is refreshing. She seems to sense when others are hurting and almost always reacts with a hug. It also reminds me of a research study I read many years ago when I was studying to become a professional pastoral counselor. The study involved a mental health center where a few persons who possessed natural caregiver skills like your friend and my neighbor sat with clients who shared their problems. The professional staff also sat with the same clients and listened to their issues. In the end, the clients rated the natural caregivers group as being “more helpful” than the professionals. The clients didn’t know there were two different groups. We hope to capitalize on that kind of wisdom in this seminar to remind us what is really important as we sit with spiritually injured folks.
I hope others will share a snapshot of a time they experienced spiritual care.