Joy and Stress

Working in hospice care can feel so daunting at times. I have seen more death than the average person, but I guess the average person doesn’t find themselves working in hospice. I have attended funeral upon funeral and presided over many of them. In my time with hospice I have learned and truly believe that it takes a special person to do what we do. It’s not easy to witness death. Yet even in the difficulties of it, there truly is a beauty that radiates around a person when they are at peace. It a beauty that I can’t describe in any words other than peace. When someone finds peace in their life their death seems to be much easier.

Lately I have been asking myself, how much death can a person see and still feel whole? I know that God has placed me in this position of ministry for a reason, and not to boast, but I am a good chaplain and I recognize that. Although, just because a person is good at something, how long can I do what I do? I have one friend who worked as a hospice chaplain for 19 years, that’s well above the average. I think many people burn out. Death is difficult.

I do find that I balance my time out of work with things that are life giving to me. My family brings me both joy and stress at times, but it puts a smile on my face when I think about them because that is the joy of life. Life is filled with the joy and stress, it’s not an easy path to the end. So even when my family is sick, crying, and having tantrums (my husband not included here) I recognize this is the joy of living.

When I think about what things are life giving to me, I wonder what I would do with my life if I didn’t work as a chaplain. This has been my question and my prayer. I have been seeking God’s direction and I will continue to seek and ask Him, am I where you want me? Until I hear Him speak, I will continue on this path because I trust this is where God has placed me. I welcome prayers, if anyone wants to join me in praying. I trust that God hears our prayers even when we don’t hear Him.

No one ever said life would be easy or our direction would be clear. At least not for my generation. My parents worked in their jobs for decades, and I just don’t think that is my path. I can’t imagine decades in hospice care. But until something changes I will continue to look for the beauty and joy in what I do, and focus my eyes to the Lord, the one who gives me the strength to do what I do.

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