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)