pastoral/spiritual care

Everyone Say Love

Recently I had the moving experience of seeing and hearing something amazing.  The patient was very sick and the medical team was working hard, facing some unexpected challenges associated with intubating a patient.  There had to be a good 15 people in the room, and many of us were silent as the physician did his best to place the tube and get the indication that the airway was open and the respirator was functioning.  After several tries and prior to the last attempt, I clearly and audibly heard the physician ask for everyone to say, “Love,” as he tried one last time to provide life-giving oxygen to the patient.  I was stunned.  Did he just ask everyone to say the word “Love?”  It felt like a prayer, but it also felt like the quarterback saying, “Hut.” Even as the physician said, “Ok, everyone say ‘Love,’” I sensed he was calling for some help beyond himself and beyond our team. As a chaplain I felt connected to the physician as I said the word “Love” silently in my mind, heart, and soul.  I assume others did the same.  It was a great feeling to experience as we looked beyond ourselves for help and the help was there.  How do you explain this experience?  I think it beyond explanation, at least in certain terms.  I nonetheless know that God is love and that is one way to explain the help.  There are others for sure.  

The psalmist wrote in Psalm 121, “From whence comes my help?”  We all look to others as challenges are faced.  Sometimes clinicians look to God, other clinicians, books, case studies and even partners in the room to help find answers to challenges.  Other times we are the people who are receiving the care.  We are the others ones calling for Love to come down and be with the person in need.  Sometimes we are calling for Love’s help in order to help others and sometimes others are calling for Love’s help for us.   It is good to both find help and to receive it. 

In one of my marriage ceremony homilies, I refer to God as capital “L” love.  It is this Love that is creator and sustainer and helper.  Love is the help we need as we work in the hospital, and Love is what we want for our lives outside the hospital.  May this holiday season be a reminder to us that we can call out for Love’s help.  We can allow the Spirit to infuse our souls and to inspire us to good works.  Helping others by being a healing agent is what we do in our hospital.  Sometimes we have to call for help and other times there are people who do that for us, even in our most vulnerable moments like being placed on a respirator to sustain life.  Thank goodness for the Love that is outside of us, and thank goodness for the Love that is inside of us.  May you know that Love even more in your heart during this holiday season.

Thank you, God, for our trained clinicians who know that Love is always available.  Help us to call on you that we may know hope, healing, and new spiritual life during this holiday season and always. Amen.

-- Chaplain George M. Rossi


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