Speak Little, Listen Much

Recently, a patient, whose prognosis was very poor, came into the Trauma ICU, and the medical team knew he was not going to survive. Therefore, following up from the night chaplain’s visit, I met the family and offered both emotional and spiritual support to them. During our discussion, they made me aware that they were connected with the religion of Jainism. Having never heard of this faith tradition and even after some research, I quickly realized that I was ill-equipped to respond to any of their specific spiritual needs; fortunately, they had already contacted their religious leader to address these. However, I did observe, in my time with them, the importance of a supportive, listening presence.

Whether it be terminal weans, difficult situations with patients and their families, or just interactions with other colleagues, the impact of one’s supportive presence can speak louder than any words. In the book of James, chapter one, verse nineteen, it states “everyone should be quick to listen [and] slow to speak.” Sometimes it is better to be the quiet companion journeying alongside someone through his or her trials. Thus, the next time we work with a patient, family, or another associate, may we keep in mind the quote of President Abraham Lincoln:
“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

Let us pray:

Gracious God, be our voice in all circumstances. Guide us in our conversations, so we may bring peace and comfort to others.

Amen.

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