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Walking and Processing

My recent absence from blogging has not been because nothing is happening. Much is happening, but much of it is confidential. That which can be shared has taken some time for me to process before I could write about it.

The last few weeks have been full of encounters of all kinds, events, and personal reflection. It has been a roller coaster ride full of tears and joy--moments of "Aha" and others of "Oh crap." Here is a bit of what can be shared.

The retirement community I'm doing CPE in, being a chaplain this summer in, is a truly amazing place. Volunteers abound and those volunteers are residents of the retirement community. My weeks have consisted of times in one area to "Chat with the Chaplain." Wednesday mornings I do the devotions that are broadcast to all areas of the community. Friday mornings is a Bible study in memory support. Memory support encompasses a variety of abilities--some appear fully functional cognitively while others do not even speak. Each participates, singing his or her heart out as able. That may mean boisterous song or a smile and hum.

Most recently the lesson I am learning is just "to be" with someone in grief--whether it be from a recent loss or an older loss. One of the residents is in the process of "actively dying" and just seems to be sleeping peacefully. My visits are more for the family than the resident now. To just listen and accompany those who are waiting and watching during the seemingly interminable process of the death of a loved one. I am learning to just listen and pray and be. And in the listening and praying and being, God is with us.

This little song says it all:

The Servant Song
by Richard Gillard

1. Brother, let me be your servant.
Let me be as Christ to you.
Pray that I might have the grace
To let you be my servant, too.

2. We are pilgrims on a journey.
We are brothers on the road.
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load.

3. I will hold the Christ-light for you
In the night time of your fear.
I will hold my hand out to you;
Speak the peace you long to hear.

4. I will weep when you are weeping.
When you laugh, I'll laugh with you.
I will share your joy and sorrow
Till we've seen this journey through.

5. When we sing to God in heaven,
We shall find such harmony
Born of all we've known together
Of Christ's love and agony.

(Repeat Verse #1)

flickr picture


Law+Gospel said…
Ivy, it can be challenging to "be." I sometimes think we are wired to "do." One wise chaplain I know told me that he does not minister "to" which sounds like applying something to someone, like a Band-aid. He speaks of ministering "with" others. This has helped me to see how just allowing someone to not feel alone, or to know that you were not scared off by what scares them is enough. Our "being with" tells others that their moments are worth it to God who loves them no matter what. I continue to be amazed that the times people often tell me how much my being there meant were the times where all I could offer was "being"- that is when I hear that I brought peace, or the one that struck me most was someone telling me they were drawn out of despair by my "caring eyes." I can only believe they saw God's eyes. Blessings to you as you continue to grow in this time.
Ivy said…
Thanks for dropping by Law and Gospel. I think I have a better understanding as to how in CPE you came to rule chaplaincy in. Peace.
Jennifer said…
Ivy, CPE is hard; retirement community ministry an be very hard. I hope tyou have plenty of time not only to walk and process but to recall your places of deep joy.
Songbird said…
Ivy, I love that hymn, but I've never seen it with that first line. In our hymnal it reads, "Won't you let me be your servant," which is such a powerful thing, isn't it?"
Pastor Eric said…
The ministry of presence is one of the key things I learned in CPE. Something else that my supervisor told me that I will never forget is that let your whole visit be a prayer in and of itself. God bless you as you continue through CPE.
Ivy said…
Thank you Jennifer. There have been those as well. Fortunately, 4 out of 5 of us will be together in the Fall semester for Integrative Seminar II, the classroom follow up and reflection upon our CPE experiences. Peace.
Ivy said…
Songbird, that it is. Thank you. By the way, I like your new picture.
Ivy said…
Thank you,Pr. Eric, that is something I will try to remember and will reflect upon that. Blessings.
Unlikely said…
keep it up. Ministry takes alot of seasons.
Ivy said…
Thanks for the encouragement, Unlikely. I'm beginning to get a feel for what you mean.

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