All Courses Forums Course Discussion Forums Creating a Caring Presence Week Two-Primer, Chapter 3

5 replies, 3 voices Last updated by Rose McKeown 2 years, 8 months ago
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    • #4222

      Rose McKeown
      Member
      @rmckeown

      Chapter 3: The Prism of Pastoral Care: Scripture Refracted
      P. 40: the blending of paradigms…how the Spirit was at work as each of those students experienced different biblical images as they grieved for their fellow student who lingered between life and death. I wonder as I sit with family at their loved one’s bedside if they have any scriptural images that helps them. It’s not a question I often ask but one that I will ask now, if appropriate. One paradigm I do share is the image of ‘missionary’. I heard this when I was in Rome at the canonization of a Sister from Spain. In the program, there was a quote from one of her letters to the Sisters who all worked in nursing homes. It went something like this: “You can be a missionary in China, India, South America, wherever, but there is no greater mission in life than to walk another human being home to God. And, that is what you, my sisters, in the mission that is yours” I often share this image with families.

      End of lesson: In pastoral caregiving, it helps to have a picture (image or paradigm) of what being a pastoral caregiver looks like.

      I facilitate a grief support group each month. It is an open-ended support group so I never know how many people will come. Sometimes we are just three or four, other times seven or eight. Some keep coming for years.
      The image I have in these sessions is that of Jesus, the wounded Healer on the road to Emmaus. P. 42: Jesus walks with the two disciples in their grief. He asks them why they are sad. He listens to their story, he understands their grief. He asks questions and opens Scripture for them and waits for them to invite him in and to discover truth on their own. “Then, he knew how to leave…”

      I am humbled as I listen to people’s stories and how the group interacts with one another in care and compassion even when they are meeting each other for the first time. There is a sense of walking alongside each other as we live with life’s most difficult experience, the death of a loved one. Some are new to the journey of grief and others have been on the journey awhile. Emotions are recognized and shared. We learn that we do not have to go through the grieving process alone. Those who are farther on in the journey, witness that grief is survivable. You will never get over it but you will learn to live with it (the death of your loved one) You will laugh again, happiness is not gone from your life. You do carry the wound that becomes a scar that will call you to be a wounded healer, Jesus on the road to Emmaus.

      “Then, he knew how to leave…” Grief has no timeline. Each one has to process their grief in their own way and on their own time, in a way that helps resolve the pain that they feel. There is no certain amount of time to do this. We all grieve and deal in our own way. Only the person grieving can know when they are ready to move forward after their loss. Only the person grieving can decide what it means to let go or accept the loss they have experienced. Only the person grieving can truly decide what it means to move on and move forward. I can help facilitate this for the person grieving, but only that person will know when it is time for him/her to move on.

    • #4238

      Wally Plock
      Participant
      @wemajh

      Rose

      I appreciate your sensitive and keen insights.  You seem to have a gentle yet strong, slow rhythm as you come along side people–not rushed, but with purpose and patience.  Your quote “…but there is no greater mission in life than to walk another human being home to God…” recognizes the holiness of our work.

      It strikes me sometimes how many people are there when I go to a funeral for someone who has been in my nursing home

      Why weren’t they visiting in the nursing home?

      Well maybe they were when I wasn’t there.  Or maybe closer to the truth,) God knows how hard and uncomfortable it is watching people suffer and die, so he calls and gifts a few special ones like us to enter in and come along side.  We each can only operate in the gifting and grace we receive.  My judginess towards those who don’t visit is softened as I realize they are girted in other ways and probably do things I would find challenging.

      • #4255

        Rose McKeown
        Member
        @rmckeown

        Thanks Wally! I identify with your question of ‘why weren’t they visiting in the nursing home” . That is when the person really needed them…more than at the funeral. I’ve asked the same question! I don’t know if it is judging or if it a sensitivity to the pain that a nursing home resident feels when family and friends don’t visit as often as the resident needs them to be there. People live busy lives today and I think that is one reason for not visiting. Another, the fear that ‘this may be me someday..’ I’ve seen the joy on a resident’s face when their family brings them in a Wendy’s Frosty or takes them out for a ride. Small things to help them know that they are not forgotten.

    • #4245

      Thank you Rose.  Lovely quote “…no greater mission than to walk another human being home to God.”  Good reminder even when it is hard to see.

      Wally–you are right–where were all of the mourners at the nursing home.  I have a friend in a care facility in another state.  I so miss being able to see her, even with her memory issues.

      I found the Primer reading so very helpful as reminders.

      I appreciated the closing line of the paragraph on page 26–‘Trusting in God’s guidance, we realize that the encounter is not by chance but by design.’   Several times I’ve been rounding and encountered someone say “I was just going to call you.  How did you know we needed you?”  Truly, thankful for God’s prompting to be of help and service.

      The question at the end of chapter 2–when did I feel the love of Christ communicated without words?  In summer of ’17, while at Boy Scout Jamboree, my husband collapsed with cardiac arrest.  After procedures at one hospital–he was transferred to another hospital in West Virginia.  When I finally arrived from Texas, a friend had called a local congregation to provide support to me and my husband.  A chaplain from the Jamboree also was great support–and still is. The first few days my husband was critical–I remember saying to 1-2 people, “I don’t know if I will be able to take him home.”  This lovely part time youth minister just let me talk  and cry and listened.  He prayed with me.  If he said words, I don’t remember any of them.    He was there and I knew God was there.    (So I don’t leave you hanging, my husband’s recovery was amazing and his nurses call him their Miracle Man–he is back at work, volunteering as a firefighter and this past fall continued to referee high school football.  We are grateful every day!)

      Chapter 3 –“Throughout history, the predominant image of the Christian caregiver has been that of the shepherd.”  As I read, I’ve continued to wonder about my own imagery of care-giving.  For me, I continue to think of Mary and Martha.

      <span class=”verse” style=”box-sizing: border-box; display: inline; cursor: pointer; font-family: Roboto; outline: 0px !important; font-size: 1.3em !important;”><span style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-weight: bold; display: inline-block; margin-right: 3px; margin-left: 5px;”>38</span> <span id=”verse-38″ style=”box-sizing: border-box;”>As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.</span> </span><span class=”verse” style=”box-sizing: border-box; display: inline; cursor: pointer; font-family: Roboto; outline: 0px !important; font-size: 1.3em !important;”><span style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-weight: bold; display: inline-block; margin-right: 3px; margin-left: 5px;”>39</span> <span id=”verse-39″ style=”box-sizing: border-box;”>She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.</span> </span><span class=”verse” style=”box-sizing: border-box; display: inline; cursor: pointer; font-family: Roboto; outline: 0px !important; font-size: 1.3em !important;”><span style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-weight: bold; display: inline-block; margin-right: 3px; margin-left: 5px;”>40</span> <span id=”verse-40″ style=”box-sizing: border-box;”>But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”</span> </span><span class=”verse” style=”box-sizing: border-box; display: inline; cursor: pointer; font-family: Roboto; outline: 0px !important; font-size: 1.3em !important;”><span style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-weight: bold; display: inline-block; margin-right: 3px; margin-left: 5px;”>41</span> <span id=”verse-41″ style=”box-sizing: border-box;”>“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,</span> </span><span class=”verse” style=”box-sizing: border-box; display: inline; cursor: pointer; font-family: Roboto; outline: 0px !important; font-size: 1.3em !important;”><span style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-weight: bold; display: inline-block; margin-right: 3px; margin-left: 5px;”>42</span> <span id=”verse-42″ style=”box-sizing: border-box;”>but few things are needed—or indeed only one.Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”</span></span>

      I know that Jesus reminded the sisters that Martha needed to calm and just be with Jesus as Mary was.  And maybe I’m interpreting inaccurately, but I believe that we need both Marthas and Marys in care-giving.  Sometimes there are practical ways to show care to others–calling their local congregation, providing communion or baptism.  And then sometimes we are called to stop and be with the patient and or family as Mary was with Jesus.  I see now in the re-reading this translation, Martha was distracted.  That may be the key–rather than focus on the basics of bread and wine, she was focused on the nice tablecloth and multi-course meal.

      All of the examples provided in the chapter and in our discussion were helpful.

      • #4256

        Rose McKeown
        Member
        @rmckeown

        Trusting in God’s guidance, we realize that the encounter is not by chance but by design.’ Several times I’ve been rounding and encountered someone say “I was just going to call you. How did you know we needed you?” Truly, thankful for God’s prompting to be of help and service.” How true this is! I am in a Bible Study group and this past month we talked about “God Winks”. This would be one of those “God Winks”

        Also appreciated your story of receiving pastoral care when your husband went into cardiac arrest. How scary that must have been How the faith community was there for him and you and all the family. And how the nurses there saw God at work in them and all of you as they see your husband as the ‘miracle man’

        And, I agree with you that we need both Marthas and Marys in caregiving! Sometimes we are called to be one and sometimes the other.

    • #4249

      Wally Plock
      Participant
      @wemajh

      Kathy

      Good news about your husband’s recovery.  Life changes quick.  That was one of the lessons I learned early on at the Trauma Center hospital where I did my CPE.  So many weird accidents changed people’s lives forever.  Being in the right place at the right time is definitely Holy Spirit synchronicity.  It helps lower my anxiety level when I remember that God is in control.

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