A Day in April for Hospital Chaplain, Michael Deal
I work between two hospitals, which can sometimes seem rather disjointed. A daily rhythm can be interrupted simply by being at another facility the next day. But after a few years you get used to it and enjoy the change in scenery.
After nearly five years being a hospital chaplain, you begin to get familiar with returning patients. From my earliest days at one of the hospitals I have followed up two elderly female patients through their respective journeys through the hospital system.
Both have faced mounting health challenges as they age and have few family members and friends to visit them. On the top of that, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it very hard for long-term patients to find any outlet or encouragement from anyone who is not a doctor or a nurse. My visits with them have, I hope, brought Christian encouragement and care that they would not normally receive.
One lady has refused further treatment and expects that after she returns home that she may die from her condition. This lady has not been involved in a church for many years. Yet at the end of her life, while physically limited she is also mentally alert and can ponder the place of God in her life and what eternity may be like. My role as a Christian Chaplain is to be a listening ear to her in a momentous time, but also to bring the loving presence of Jesus to her bedside through my actions, my listening, and my words.
The other long-term patient is more confused in her thinking, but grateful that a familiar face is there to listen to her story and her struggles that she has each day with chronic health issues.
Bedside prayer for these ladies has been appreciated and gives to each of them hope that beyond their current circumstances there is a holy, gracious and loving God who can walk with them and comfort them in their current needs if they call out to him.
There are many other people that I minister to, but as I reflect on nearly 5 years in chaplaincy, I thought it would be good to show that we minister to people not just as one-off visits but that we can share with them over the years of their hospital journey.
22nd April 2022