Well, I am still standing after 4 days of CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education).
While I get to cover the entire hospital on a once a week rotation, my main focus will be a unit of Rehabilitation, a unit of Medical/Surgury, a unit of Neurology and….drumroll…the ER.
I believe my supervisor figured since I have not experienced death within my family, and since I am terrified of blood, needles and machines that beep–the ER would be a great growing experience.
And I already am growing…I no longer feel faint entering hospitals.
Along with pastoral visits of patients and families, we are also given the opportunity to once a week lead an interfaith “meditation.” This is an interesting experience because I have to watch the “Jesus language,” and should avoid using any texts other than the Wisdom Literatures (Psalms, Job, Ecclessiastes, Song of Songs, Lamentations).
while I expand from my manuscripts, here was my first interfaith stab:
Good afternoon and a welcome to the time of meditation at the Place of Prayer here on the first floor of the Hospital. Please know tha this space is open for all people of any faith or background who wish to come and worship, pray or meditate.
My name is Wesley Barry, and I am one of the Chaplain’s.
This afternoon, I wanted to think about community, especially during times of crisis and fear. I think one of the hardest things is when we have to face struggles and challenges alone. When we are not sure if anyone, if even our Creator, is out there, and genuinely cares for us. When we think that we are going through this proceedure, or having to wait patiently on our own, uncertain about what the result or what the future holds for us, for one of our family members or for a friend.
It is in the places of loneliness where we may find the voice of God seeking to provide comfort through the people around us.
In a sacred writing from my tradition called Ecclessiastes it says that
Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their efforts.
If one falls down, their friend can help them up.
But pity the person who falls and has no one to help her up!
Also, if two lie beside each other, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
It is strange how at times the hospital can feel like such a large, lonely place when there are so many people constantly moving around.
And it is here, during these scary and lonely times that it is hard to hold onto our faith.
We sometimes wonder why God would allow this to happen.
As we wonder these things, we might find some comfort because we realize that there are people in our lives, like our family, friends, and a community, who will hold on tighter to faith for us during these times.
At those hard moments we may not be able to even cry out to God, but others will cry out for us.
We can know that even when we do not feel close to our Creator, that God is here with us. And that a cord of three–us, our loved ones, and God–is not quickly broken.
And while we often think about our family and friends and community as being outside these hospital walls and back in the real world. We can also know that there is a community here, inside the hospital, that is here to help us. The nurses, the doctors, the ordelies and everyone are here to help us stand when we are unable to.
The teacher of Ecclessiastes discovered that being alone is a very difficult thing, but with two, with three, with a community we will be able to stand. One phrase that has always stuck with me is “If God is for us, who can be against us.”
So please also know that there are chaplains here who want to help, to spend time listening to your story, praying for you and helping you through this scary and overwhelming time.