My life keeps re-shaping itself, as new opportunities present themselves, new doors open, new windows are flung open to let in unexpected light. My position as Chaplain at the Lutheran Home Winston-Salem is proving to be one of those. First steps were tentative at best, as I found myself asking myself over and over again what it meant to be ministering in such a place, where so many of the residents seem "out of reach" to the conventional, comfortable, safe ways of doing ministry. But slowly, gradually, Love has showed its beautiful face and I am learning to share that love with people who are becoming ever dearer to me as the days go by.
One challenge has been a woman who is profoundly deaf...and each time I stopped by to see her, the experience was frustrating for both of us, as communication seemed impossible. Physically unable to write, she seems trapped in a world of silence, broken only by the moving mouths of those caring for her. Frustrated by my seeming inability to be able to offer anything to her, I found myself avoiding her room...not very pastoral, I know, but there it is.
And then, this past Wednesday, the day of our usual bi-weekly mid-week worship with Communion, the activities aide gave me a list of those residents who could not come to worship but desired to receive Communion in their rooms and this woman was on the list. Wearing my alb and stole and carrying the elements of communion, I entered her room...and for the next few minutes, time stood still and the place I stood became holy ground.
The body and blood of Christ
given for you...
I can't hear.
I know...and I hold up
the wafer dipped in wine.
Her eyes widen, mouth opens,
and I repeat the words as
I feed her the bread of life.
Oh, my, she whispers, eyes filling
with tears, it has been so long.
My fingers touch her cheek,
enshroud her head as I
say the blessing.
I would like to come to worship
sometime, her quiet voice
continues, but I can't hear.
Then I'll come to you, I say
and gesture. Her hands clasp mine-
Thank you thank you, thank you,
and now the tears are mine.
And so, I live and learn and feel the power of the Living God flow through even me...Keep me mindful, Ground of All Being, of my place in this great scheme of things called "Life", and open me to being a blessing even as I offer blessing.