Thursday, 4 December 2014

Chance? conversations Part Two

I left the Barber-shop yesterday to head down to the day shelter for homeless people where I serve as chaplain.  I was not driving in the joy of the Lord, for the shelter's population has changed drastically, and being there can often seem like a chore rather that like Christian service.

I greeted one of the other volunteers, a petite eighty something woman named Helen.  She loves my jokes so I often greet her by saying  "Helen, the face that launched a thousand quips".

Helen was down.  She had counted on my being there so that I could listen to her sadness.  Her son  (in his sixties?) had died earlier in the week in Oakland, CA.  Helen is a widow, and an older son had also died, so she is very much alone.  She is not connected with any "faith community".  And it will be impossible for her to get out to California.

So I was there for a reason, to listen to Helen. 

Pastoral care is sometimes simply listening to a person's sadness.

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One man showed for the prayer service.  Sandy-haired, stocky, maybe mid-forties.  Life had evidently dealt him some cruel hand or other. He said, "I came in here just to cry because I don't want to cry in front of the others.

So I let him cry.

Pastoral care is sometimes simply listening to a man as he weeps.

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