I am overwhelmed by the darkness of my despair. I feel abandoned, in pain, grieving, afraid, angry, confused, helpless, hopeless…I am alone!
“Hi, I’m the chaplain. I’d like to visit with you if that’s ok?”
Chaplains accompany people through dark times of crisis. It is not an easy task, and it is definitely not a glamourous job. It is messy and often mentally and spiritually painful and exhausting. This type of work is also not high-paying or prestigious. You will not find chaplaincy on the list of the top ten most sought after career choices. So why do chaplains work long hours for little pay with stressed out people who rarely say thank you?
Chaplains are called by faith to serve God however they perceive a higher power to be by serving others. They represent a loving God who does not abandon anyone; a specific religion or belief system is not required to receive services. A chaplain’s presence brings God into the situation with no strings attached for those of various faiths and no faith.
G. K. Chesterton said “There are no words to express the abyss between isolation and having one ally. It may be conceded to the mathematician that four is twice two. But two is not twice one, two is two thousand times one.”
YOU, chaplain, are the hands and heart of God to people in crisis. This role is not for the meek of heart and not the type of career lightly chosen. Rather, you have been chosen! You are special! And, as one chosen by God, you will be prepared and equipped for the tasks before you.
As a chaplain, you choose to willingly walk into the darkness of another’s life bringing light and hope. Often you will not know the beginning of a person’s story, and most likely you will not know the ending unless you are present as they transition from life to death, but while you are present you gather the fragmented pieces of a person’s life, gently holding them so that they can be examined and reformed into a new normal that hopefully moves the person toward inner peace. Not your words. Not your intelligence and insight, but your openness to allow God to work through you changes lives. You are important! You are valuable! You make a difference even when it doesn’t feel that way. You are a chaplain!
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2
God of the universe, thank you for those you have chosen and appointed to be chaplains. You provide everything that is required for serving people in crisis. Help us to remember that you are always close and that we are not required to have all the answers. All we need are open and willing hearts. Amen
© 2019, 2023 Sharon T. Hinton