10 September 2007

like a child

Today was my second visit to my Contextual Education (ConEd) site placement. I had visited Scottish Rite Children's hospital the Thursday before, but today was the day I was to start visiting patients.

My first duty was to watch three short films on child abuse, development and the hospital.

Then, after searching the hospital and finding my employee badge (which grants me access, etc), I met with my resident and made my way to my floor.

When I first learned that I would be at Scottish Rite, my heart sank. I didn't want to work with kids. The only real experience I had was with my baby (now 8 year old) cousin, O. And even then, she was family--it was different.

I didn't want my heart to be broken. When I told a friend this, she asked "why?" It seemed like a dumb question at first, but I thought about it, and answered her with this "Cancer is a horrible thing. But I can swallow it a little easier if someone has been smoking for fifty years than if they were five years old." I guess I'm afraid of the unexplained. More specifically of the undeserved (not that anyone deserves to suffer or be in pain).

Today, I visited with two families. My visits were brief (I was on a tight schedule today), but they went better than I had anticipated. The big question still looms--what are you supposed to say? What are you supposed to do? But at the end of the day, all you can do is be there and sit with them and chat and hope and pray.

And above all, remember that at our core, in our most central being, we are all like children--hopeful, scared, and all searching for a little fun along the way.


1 comment:

Amy said...

Chaplain at a children's hospital. That's rough.

The thing I keep reminding myself in those pastoral moments is that it's less about what we say, and more about us being there. That's harder for some extroverts *cough*Jon*cough*. But, being a sometimes silent presence in the room with the child and family goes a long way.

Blessings as you begin an exciting year with children (I know how much you love them!) ;)