Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I was just thinking back to my days working as a chaplain in Houston. It is hard to believe that it has been ten years this past summer that I was there. There were so many people I came in contact with, from the exotic dancer who broke his kneecap to the raped and beaten teacher.
Each of these people left an impression on me and influenced my life and ministry.
There was the man who was paralyzed from the neck down who communicated through mouthing words. When I got frustrated with not being able to understand, he told me to just keep coming back, I would get it. Words of wisdom that have helped my life.
There was the family of the man who died of AIDS. When I showed up as clergy, they didn't want anything to do with me. Their comment: "We are just tired. How do we get this cleared up so we can leave?" Sometimes we just need to care for the person physically before we can take care of the person spiritually.
There was the teacher that I had mentioned. She wanted to pray for her attacker. She wanted him to find peace in his life so he would not have to ever do this to another person. I was humbled.
There was the family who chose to turn off the ventilator of their husband/father. I can't remember laughing and smiling more at the death of a person. This man lived a full and joyful life and his family wanted me to know the joy that he brought to the world.
Finally there was the woman who died (almost) alone. We did not know her name. She died of drugs. Myself and a nurse where the people who witnessed her passing. It was quiet, but sad. I was honored to be there to acknowledge her life and that she did not die alone.
I have not heard what has happened to these and so many others I met. I just need to trust that God traveled with them and hopefully I was able to bring some peace to them.