Sunday, September 6, 2009

cliff hanger

I don't like television cliff hangers.  I don't want to wait until next week or next season to see if Pam and Jim have a baby,  if Barney and Robin get together,  if Patrick Jane figures everything out in time or if Betty forgives Don.  (if you can name the 4 shows I'm talking about, you are my kind of TV person!)  I like to watch the end first and then rewind.  (yep, you read that right) My favorite part of a show is the scenes from next week.  I want to know what is going to happen!

No such luck here.  Every day in the hospital there are never-to-be-resolved cliff hangers.  I spend 2 hours with a car wrecked family whose son is getting a cat scan.  I never see them again.  I get turned down at a room by a woman with a black eye and broken jaw.  I never hear what happened to her.  I pray with a family in surgery waiting and never know if it all went ok.  I talk with a NICU family every day for 3 months, then come in one morning and find them discharged.   My time with all of them is brief and defined.  The next step, the next phase, the rest of the story has nothing to do with me.

That is a hard part of this job for me.  Sometimes I have to remind myself that God knows their whole story and that He walks with them from beginning to end, even though I can't.

Last Sunday, the four residents provided a memorial service for anyone who had lost a loved one here in the last three months.  Our thoughts were on making it a fresh and meaningful service.  We were all surprised to see families walk through the doors who we knew from hard moments in the Emergency room or Neuro ICU or the Heart Center.   And they recognized us!  I saw family members in line light up when they spotted Nathan.  "He's our chaplain!"  I watched people make their way right over to Cathie and Vicki to catch up.  I felt warm hugs and soft smiles from my people.  And I had time to ask "how are things going for you?"  My little follow-through-deprived heart was overflowing!

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  Ecclesiates 3:11


  1. overflowing indeed! thanks for sharing it with us

  2. Sometimes I have to remind myself that God knows their whole story and that He walks with them from beginning to end, even though I can't.

    Thank you for this reminder!

    You are living a difficult role. Offering your heart and care and then letting go so soon.

    Wow. That service turned out to be a gift from you and to you at the same time! I'm so glad all four of you got to hear more of each of those family's stories!