17 November 2010

A Hospital Experience

Before I begin this post, a note: I am always hesitant to share stories from the hospital where I have the privilege of ministering.  The hospital takes patient confidentially seriously and we take it doubly seriously in the pastoral care department.  In three months at the Shattuck, I have become convinced that if television executives had interest in actually producing reality-based TV, they could start at the Château and have a blockbuster on their hands.  In the following post, however, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to share this story, albeit with a scantness of details and some of those provided altered to protect all involved.

As I walked onto an oft-visited floor yesterday, I stopped by to chat with one of my favorite patients.  She was concerned, as she usually is, about if she could ask me a question or express an emotion.  This is a sort of dance in which I often partake with patients: they ask me if they can share something with me and assent.  The patient told me a story about the health problems of another patient, who, in her mind at least, has it worse off then herself.  And then patient did something extraordinary: in clear and passionate language she expressed her sadness at the plight of her fellow patient.  What's more, she asked me if these emotions, this sadness, was alright for her to have.  I assured her that it was alright.

It got me thinking, this exchange.  Despite the plight of a particular person, that person still bears the full brunt of his or her emotions.  Even those down on their luck -- perhaps through their own fault -- they bear the dignity of being a creation of Almighty God.  And you know, sometimes, when you're as lucky as me, it's easy to forget that.

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