Working in a nursing home as a Chaplain can be a very interesting job. For some, it can take a toll, and for others it can truly be a witness to God’s amazing grace. I am one of the latter.
We have people of all faiths here at the Friendly Home, and I am here to sit with people wherever they are on their own faith journey and move them closer to God. That is my favorite part about this job: when I walk into Members’ rooms, I get to learn from them about their faith journeys and their own relationships with God. The age difference between me and the Members – often a full 60 years – is transcended as I provide comfort and understanding to them. When a Member tells me that my sermons on Sundays are uplifting because they come from a place of understanding, I know the importance of my spiritual walk with people as their Chaplain.
There are many expressions of faith here, and I touch the lives of our Members throughout the building in different ways. I offer a Sunday morning worship service to an average of 60 attendees; others watch the broadcast of the Sunday sermon in their rooms. Some Members like to come to Bible study. What I think Members enjoy most are my visits with them. My visits look like any other – people share their life history or their family stories with me – but I know what they are also sharing is how the love of God has worked in their lives. Some visits might simply be playing a card game and having a conversation. Other visits may be silent and yet I know the presence of the Divine is at work. Some visits may be transforming as Members share their sins and feel the power of God. Some visits are empowering to Members and others are encouraging. Whatever the visit is for them, I meet Members where they are and travel on their faith journey with them in hopes that they come to know the power and strength of God.
I find it very meaningful to work with people with Alzheimer’s disease. I stand in awe of the emotion of love and how it works even when our minds have seemingly forgotten. It is truly touching when someone with severe dementia responds to a family member’s presence even when they cannot verbalize or even grasp at the relationship they once had. It is a testimony to love when familiar and loving faces can calm down even a person’s worst or most frustrated moments because among the chaos of life, love can transcend that moment and send calmness into the chaos.
This is the testimony to God’s love. That even when we can’t understand the world around us or what is happening – God’s love can transcend the chaos and find us.
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