All Courses Forums Course Discussion Forums Creating a Caring Presence Answering the Question…

8 replies, 5 voices Last updated by Wally Plock 2 years, 9 months ago
Viewing 7 reply threads
  • Author
    Posts
    • #4163

      Mary M. Wrye
      Member
      @mmwrye

      Rick has asked us to address the question of “what is your most meaningful memory of receiving pastoral care?”
      I was on staff of a large Baptist church in South Carolina. There were 8 of us on the pastoral staff. The pastor who was there when I was hired had retired, the new pastor was a church member and had been an academic/professor but was known for his sermons. While he was telling the pastoral staff that he could not do his job without us as a team, he was telling the Personnel Committee that the pastoral staff was too large. Without notice (and just a month after my annual evaluation) I was given the choice to either take a demotion and a cut in salary or resign with a 5 month severance package and a gag order. I had been the last hired. Not only did this catch me totally off guard, my pastoral colleagues had no idea either until the day I was called into the pastor’s office. I waited a couple of days and then turned in my resignation.

      The former pastor (Hardy) was still living in town. I called him. His immediate response was “Come here. Come here right now.” I went to his house where he gathered me up, listened, let me cry, affirmed me and my calling, and began the long journey of walking with me through the healing process. Interestingly enough, I was able to quickly begin a CPE Residency with the hospital system (I had been on their CPE Advisory Board for the last couple of years). A year to the date of that cut (and while at lunch with Hardy because he made note of the date as well), I was offered a job at the hospital where I currently work. I have been promoted in the process and believe that God saved the best for last for me. That was 15 years ago.

      Hardy’s was the voice that stood at the edge of my darkness and kept talking to me until I could find my way out. He did not come into my darkness but he kept talking to me, letting me hear his voice, hear his love and care – until I could find my own way out. I will be forever in his debt and I am a healthier and more sane person today because of his great skill and care.

    • #4168

      Wally Plock
      Participant
      @wemajh

      A time I received pastoral care.  Effective.  One of our long time employees died just before Christmas at the age of 60 (Cancer.)  I had ministered to her mother in law who died at the nursing home a few years ago. We had set up a time for our affiliate Community Hospice chaplain to be available for staff.  I felt the burden of ministering to my colleagues who were very close with Fran* (*name changed) as well as grieving the loss of a fellow worker.  I spent some time with the Hospice Chaplain who listened well, asked a few good questions, showed empathy and prayed with me.  I said at the end of our visit, there are times when the chaplain needs a chaplain.

      As far as a time I’ve offered pastoral care, I am blessed to be able to have many opportunities a day, but I learn more from the times I fall short in my own estimation.  It sometimes happens when I am distracted by my to do list.  I find myself thinking about the next item/person/task and am not fully present to the person in front of me.  A quick prayer and I am out of the door.  Yesterday, I just wanted to give one of the residents a quick hello and be on my way.  Three times she called me back to ask a question.  Instead of sitting and visiting with her, I said I would see her later and prayer for her.

      • #4177

        David
        Participant
        @Chaplain Brinker

        Wally, Thank you for your post. I appreciate you honesty and transparency. I identify with that urgent feeling to be out the door and on to the next person. As I eflect of where that comes from in me, there are times when I feel like I have heard this all before and there is nothing new in the story I am asked to listen to. At other times I feel bored, tired, weary, or disconnected so I am prone to “going through the motions.” How do you resist this inner realities and remainreally present? This is one of my stuggles.

    • #4178

      Wally Plock
      Participant
      @wemajh

      Thank you for your affirmative response.

      Being aware that it is a possibility helps.  Remembering to listen with my feet (If my toes are pointed towards the person, I’m usually present.  If my toes are pointing toward the door and only my head is leaning in, then I’m usually not present.  The star fish story also helps.  If you don’t know it, I’ll gladly share it.  One of my chaplain colleagues from Hospice also told me to do a quick spiritual and emotional cleansing after a visit.  Offer it to God and leave it behind so as to be fresh for the next visit.  A priest friend uses the image of a sponge.  During a visit, we absorb all the emotion, struggle, pain, etc from the person and then squeeze it out to the Lord.

      Retreating to the office and/or chapel to chart or pray after an hour or two of visitation is also helpful.

      Thanks for asking

       

    • #4193

      Cindy Sturgill
      Participant
      @CindySturgill

      The most memorable and effective pastoral care I have received came from my former pastor, four years ago, when my most recent marriage completely imploded, blind-siding me. I left Louisville and drove to Virginia Beach to spend some time with him and his family. They welcomed me with open arms, cried with me, let me be angry, let me doubt everything about myself – including God, and helped me to begin my healing process. Over the years and across the miles, they have checked in with me, shared milestones with me, and have encouraged me with love and compassion. Without their support (in physical form), I don’t think I would have had been open to receiving support (in spiritual form), nor had the courage to come back to church again (after a 3 year absence). Their unconditional love has meant the world to me. I am forever indebted to them.

    • #4198

      David
      Participant
      @Chaplain Brinker

      Cindy, your story reflects how being listen to, accepted, and cared for at the point of our need is powerfully healting. I am glad the connection you experienced as a life-changing blessing. Thank you for sharing.
      David

    • #4203

      Mary M. Wrye
      Member
      @mmwrye

      Cindy, isn’t it amazing how healing it is when we are welcomed with open arms, and allowed to be who/what we are at the time. It is better than anything we could put through an IV. Thank you for sharing your story.

      I have just spent some time today with a patient telling me her story of the past few days. The opportunity to be there with her, to hear her story, to hold her emotions in my heart and to pray with her – was powerful for ME. She told me she felt much better when I left. Emotional/spiritual healing goes a long way in physical healing.

    • #4205

      Oh, Cindy, I”m so sad for all you have been through–but so grateful for the love and care and healing that has come for you.

    • #4206

      Wally Plock
      Participant
      @wemajh

      Cindy.

      I am sorry for the pain you experienced through the divorce and glad you were supported by your former pastor and his family.

      I can only guess at the depth of feelings one experiences before, during and after a divorce.  They are some of the hardest visits I have.

Viewing 7 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.