A Breath in the Transition

It was 8:40 a.m. My pager vibrated, and when I called the number listed, a nurse requested my presence to support a patient who was actively dying but had no family present. Upon my arrival, the bedside nurses informed me that the patient’s heart rate had greatly increased since paging me. I walked over to the patient’s bedside, gently held her hand, and provided pastoral support, including words of comfort and encouragement, prayer, and a blessing. A few minutes later, her heart rate began declining rapidly, and she eventually took her last breath. As I reflected with the nurses in the room afterwards, we discussed how the spiritual support seemed to grant the patient “permission” to move forward in the direction she was heading.

All of us face transitions in life—some that we can overcome alone and some that require support from others. During those times of feeling overwhelmed, it is crucial to acknowledge when we need another’s breath of life for support and to reach out and/or receive that assistance. The Lord encourages us to “carry each other’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2) and to “help each other up” (Ecclesiastes 4:10).

What transitions are you facing in life right now? How can you breathe life into those around you facing difficult times or receive that breath from your peers?

Lord, as we confront various transitions in life as well as support those facing their own, may we acknowledge You and Your presence through it all. In Your name I pray, Amen.

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