I serve in the Department of Spiritual Care at a nearby hospital.  It is not new to me.  I did the same thing in New York City.  Each person serving receives a list of patients to visit.  It is based on the patient intake forms stated religious preference.  Each person on the list is visited and they can accept or decline.  By far, most people accept.  Sometimes people accept even when the preference is mistaken.  Most people in that situation feel vulnerable and crave human contact.  My approach is to enter into each situation "empty".  I have no plan or agenda.  My feeling is that I want it to be about them and their needs.  If I have a plan, it is about me or too much centered on me.  If they want a prayer, we do that.  If they want communion, we do that.  If they just want to talk, we do that.  If they have some other need, I do my best to address it. Even people with dementia have emotional needs, so I talk to them.  If a referral is needed for some other help, I do that.  Empathy is the key starting point.  Compassion drives the action. 

I am not there to take on their pain.  It is not burdensome.  Bringing comfort in any form gives me peace.

--Dave

 


01/09/2013 12:22am

Lovely writing. It is a rare soul that can find that inner peace and flexibility to listen and give comfort without agenda. Thank you for what you do.

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