As I approach my 62nd birthday (one week from today) I am finding myself facing some things I never thought about before this time in my life. For one thing, I can't do everything I used to do. And sometimes I can, but just not as well as I used to.
For the last three years I've been a volunteer chaplain at a local hospital. One morning a week I went in, got my assignment for the day, and visited about 20 or 25 patients. I filled out a form on each one, talked to them about how they were feeling and what they might need, often prayed with them or held their hands and just listened. This week I had to give that up. At least for a while, and maybe forever. I have a couple of problems that made this job painful at best. Arthritis in my hands seems to be spreading exponentially (really, really fast!) and filling out forms became nearly impossible. Oddly enough I can type, but just can't write well. My handwriting, which I prided myself on, looks like my grandmother's. Oh well, I look like my grandmother so what did I expect. Now that's really ok because my grandmother was beautiful and sexy and gorgeous and stunning....well, not really but I thought so. And you think so too, I know you do. I'm sure you would tell me that if I asked but I'm much too modest for that.
I loved my hospital visits and I will miss them. But at the same time I feel like God is calling me to a new place in my life. I have no idea what it is but since He picked me up and put me in the hospital ministry I assume He'll place me wherever the next spot is. I trust Him on that. However, breaking up is hard to do...I'll miss the faces that light up when I say I'm from the chaplain's office, I'll miss the sweet stories many of my older patients shared with me and the bravado of the young, I'll miss the tender moments when a patient says "let me pray for you!" and the times I run into old friends or people from my home town. I'll miss the nurses who have joined me in prayer and the technicians who smile and usher me in because they think praying is more important than cleaning or making a bed.
I'm having a sad moment thinking on those things...but a joyful one when I remember that before He put me there I had no idea of the joy coming my way. Today I'm wondering just what He's up to now...and what task He has for me. I bet it will be even more fun than I've had at the hospital! I think it might involve some of you out there reading this post. I know that because of my training and education I'm a good listener....and some of you just need to be listened to. You need someone anonymous to hear your frustrations and your fears. Maybe I'm the one. Some of you are having difficulty understanding your teens...I used to counsel teens. Maybe I'm the one to give you wise counsel or Godly listening. Maybe you're just lonely or sad or afraid and you don't know why and you need someone to encourage you. Or maybe it doesn't involve the net at all. Maybe He's going to send me in a totally different direction. I think I'm looking at a whole new adventure!