pastoral/spiritual care

A Meaning of Nothingness

One day I was making my way to the Children’s Hospital, traveling via the adult 7th floor to the 7th floor on Children’s.  To my shock, I saw that the usual bustling 7E neurosciences unit was absolutely empty and even quiet! 

For the past 7 years (sorry I used that number again), I had had some of my most challenging and difficult visits on this floor.  My memory tells me that we had two beloved staff members die from that unit, Vinnie and Jewel, among many other patients who had the hard road of coping with a malignant brain tumor, brain cancer or even a stroke or brain hemorrhage.  7 East was no place for the faint-hearted. 

As I walked through 7 East this day, I was overcome with the tremendous silence and non-activity and nothingness. This unit, known for its non-stop activity and admission and discharges, had been discharged itself to the 9th floor of the MUSC Medical Center.  7 East as I knew it was gone.  7 East was now full of nothingness. 

I was touched in my heart by remembering the hard visits and the dedicated staff who once inhabited this place but no longer lived there.  I sensed a feeling of loss and a sense that something had dramatically changed.  The unit went from being Everything to Nothing; not really but it just felt that way.

To my surprise I found a serendipitous spiritual jewel.  I found the silence and emptiness allowed me to feel freer and even open to the Spirit and that still small voice of God.  The emptiness was now allowing me to feel a full sense of openness, and “organized chaos” no longer prevailed.  Peace and tranquility found their way to my heart, at least until 7 East was renamed and reimaged.  I wondered who would fill this void?

 Dear God, help us all to be aware of the changes that are constantly happening around us on a daily basis.  Give us eyes to see and ears to hear in the “nothingness” places of our lives. Amen.

-- Chaplain George M. Rossi


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