Face to Face

Magnolia Earl is the new Gerber baby 2020.

Last week I was gathering pictures of patients who had passed away in the last year. As I looked at each face, I was reminded that each of us has intrinsic value as human beings. Scripture speaks to this truth in Genesis 1:27 when it says we are created in “God’s image.”  Simply put, each human face I was looking at is an image or picture of God. 

Though imperfect we all carry with us worth in and of ourselves.  As I finished the project I was working on, I sat in awe looking at over 100 pictures of people. The feeling that I had was one of reverence.  Here I was face to face with God as I looked into the face of each person’s picture. 

God help us to see the people in our path today as valuable. Help us to see the sacred in the face of another beginning with ourselves when we look in the mirror.  In your precious name, Amen. 

Chaplain Josh

Enjoy the Moment

I went for a walk last night with my family.  With my three year old, Lily, we didn’t get very far. 🙂  She likes to stop and play almost every five steps.  At first I felt like we really should get going.  After all, when we are on a walk, I’d like to actually walk.  Yet I wanted to also let her explore and so I did. 

And as we explored in just a 20 foot radius we saw more wildlife than I typically see on such a short walk:  4 rabbits, 2 chipmunks, 1 heron, 1 woodpecker, and 3 ducks. 

My initial reaction of busyness and wanting to get moving changed to pure enjoyment of the moment.  It didn’t matter anymore how far I walked as we stopped and savored the beauty around us.

Today, take time to enjoy the beauty around you amidst the busyness of life.  As you do, you may just see the beauty and feel the joy of God. 

“The heavens proclaim God’s glory.  The skies display his craftmanship.”

Psalm 19:1 NLT

Chaplain Josh

Receiving Today

…he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”

Hebrews 4: 7 (ESV)

This morning in our area we woke to a pouring, steady spring rain. The yards, fields, and streets all have big puddles of standing and running water. The tempo of the rain is such that you can’t hear the individual drops patterning the roof, the car, the sidewalk; instead there is a loud muffled wave floating in the background of awareness, traveling along with us to our destinations, wherever they might be.

Just as the ground absorbs the nourishment it is offered, may we also be receptive to what God is choosing to share with us today. Perhaps it will include understanding and comfort; the invitation always involves presence. If we’ll allow it, we will be nourished and rested by a day of pause, setting down for a precious moment the activity we happily carry out under a brilliant sunny sky.

Today can be for listening, receiving, opening our hearts to the real and constant, loving and leading companionship of God.

Let’s listen for God’s “Today!” with softened and grateful hearts.

Chaplain Katherine

Food for Thought

As I was sitting outside a patient’s home talking with her grandson, he told me the thing he would miss most about his grandmother. It was her cooking.  He said, “no one makes biscuits and gravy like she does. People have tried and failed.” 

He went on to name other favorite dishes which led to favorite gatherings around holidays or regular family get togethers. Food connects us with those we love. 

As I am writing this I can’t help but think of my grandmother’s green beans from her garden. I think of her every time I have green beans. And I may just cook some tonight in honor of her and Facetime my mom. Sharing a meal with someone is a common thing we all do. But it can connect us with others in a special way, in a way that crosses time and space.

God, help us to connect with those around us today through simple actions that have so much meaning over time.  Amen

Chaplain Josh

Little Joys

“Gratitude lifts our eyes off the things we lack so we might see the blessings we possess.”

Max Lucado

A friend of mine lives in a large city on the West Coast. During the pandemic, she chose to not leave her apartment, but shelter in safety. She was able to work from home, order her groceries to be delivered. Being a graduate student, she is very thrifty with her budget, so during this time, she did go without some things she normally would buy.

When the stay-at-home orders lifted for her city, she was still cautious, and waited. Finally, she made a short trip to see what her new world looked like. She relies on city transport, and that was frightening; many strangers would be on the bus with her. My friend then had to walk a few blocks, and she passed people both wearing protective masks and others who didn’t. She was very anxious about this trip, but felt she needed to get out of her apartment. The bus wasn’t as crowded, she reported, on the way home.

On her trip, my friend could have chosen a myriad of places to visit around this large metropolis. Many of the restaurants, stores, markets had partially reopened. Her choices were really only limited to her purse. When she returned home, she showed her friends on social media the purpose of her trip: an ice coffee and a pizza.

It wasn’t just any ice coffee – it was made the way she wanted it, made at her favorite coffee shop. And the pizza wasn’t just any pizza – again, it was made to her tastes. Why didn’t she order these and have them delivered during those two month? Why did she wait almost two months to go out, and get something that most people could get at a drive-through?

Apparently she was happy with what she had. They were “the little things.” She reported they made her soul joyful! Today may our hearts be filled with such gratitude that we recognize the small things which build up the joy in our souls.

Chaplain Susann

Sharing the Light

“I see the moon; the moon sees me
Under the shade of the old oak tree.
Please let the light that shines on me
Shine on the one I love.

Over the mountains, over the sea,
Back where my heart is longing to be,
Please let the light that shines on me
Shine on the one I love.”

Meredith Wilson, 1953

This morning as I drove to the hospital early, I marveled at the beauty and size of the moon. After a night of full shining, the moon grew as it edged toward the western horizon, glowing radiantly with shades of orange and pink, with the craters on the planet clearly visible. I thought of a rhyme I’d known since childhood:

I see the moon and the moon sees me;
The moon sees someone I want to see.
God bless the moon and God bless me,
And God bless the someone I want to see.

I love this idea that the moon can be a connecting point of our prayers, a reminder of God’s constancy and love, carrying the visible light of God’s blessing to all as it travels around the globe. In this time of social distancing and lessened travel, as we miss one another and pray for protection and comfort for people the world over, the moon can be a much-needed reminder that none of us is ever alone. God’s covenant is a promise for all and for all time. As the Psalmist said,

“Like the moon it shall be established forever,
    a faithful witness in the skies.”

Psalm 89: 37

The Return of Light

This morning as I walked into the room where we gather for shift change on CICU, I was immediately washed over with great beams of sunlight that filled the room. I felt the warmth spread through me and marveled at the beauty. What a difference a week makes! Just last week at this time the sky was mostly dark. Now, we walk in to a room filled with light.

May it be so in our daily lives today. Day by day, we are learning how to navigate this crisis. Hour by hour, we are trusting God, and ourselves, and one another, as we do our best to respond to calls of care faithfully and well. May we draw hope from the idea of God’s progress–that there is a system within and without that is continually drawing us, in times of chaos and in times of peace, toward harmony, wholeness, ease.

Just look out at the sky today or notice the redbuds in bloom. You’ll see it. And be blessed.

Chaplain Katherine