Sacred Silence

Have you ever discovered the sacredness of just being present with another?

One Thursday, after experiencing a difficult training session, a resident chaplain thought to himself, “I don’t think I can do this. God, what should I do with my life then?” Feeling defeated, he headed to the Stress Center to lead a spirituality group. Upon arrival, one patient followed him to the group room before starting time. Speaking only a few words, the chaplain silently journeyed alongside the man who was now staring out the window and shedding tears over his personal grievances. Finally, the patient turned back to the chaplain, shook his hand, whispered the words “thank you,” and exited the room. Sitting in awe afterwards, the chaplain began pondering, “Okay, God; I can do this. Thank You for this confirmation.”

As members of the healthcare team, we primarily focus on how we can best serve those in our care. However, it is sometimes the patients and their families who serve us in our need—our need for positive affirmation to continue our ministry of caregiving. In the book titled Compassion, the authors summarize this idea by stating, “Simply being with someone is difficult because it asks of us that we share in the other’s vulnerability, enter with him or her into the experience of weakness and powerlessness, become part of the uncertainty, and give up control and self-determination.” Thus, it is through being present with another that we can experience the sacredness of silence.

Lord, in the book of James, You instruct us to be quick to listen and slow to speak. Guide us through the moments where we can just relish in the sacredness of the silence. In Your name I pray, Amen.

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