Monday, June 21, 2010

My Moving Experience Visiting the Sick

I like to stay active in our parish, giving my time to a ministry that I know I can give my whole heart to. After leading the Middle School Youth Ministry program for six years, I felt it was time for fresh, new ideas. I gave up leading this ministry last year to another member of our parish.
It felt a little strange for me, taking a break, after having this role for six years. I started praying for God to guide me to where I needed to be; what ministry I could give my heart to. It took almost a year before I felt sure of that next ministry.
In May I began my new ministry of visiting the hospitalized and taking Holy Communion to the homebound. On my first visit to the hospital, I visited two patients. I don't know why I thought I would be going to the hospital to visit people who just had gall bladder surgery or something minor, but this was not the case. Since that visit, both of the patients I went to see have passed. I was expecting my heart to feel full after telling each patient how much I planned on praying for them, but learned on that first visit that the feeling of fullness came from not speaking to the patients who felt too ill to visit, but from being a shoulder for the relatives. From listening to a family member say they did not want any visitors, to them deciding to confide a little bit of their fear to me, then proceeding to accept my shoulder...releasing their thoughts, their feelings, and their tears. 
The older I become the more I surprise myself at the things I never imagined I could do. I am pretty emotional and as my husband can attest, I can cry at a beautiful commercial, sentimental greeting card, etc. This worried me during these hospital visits, as I was trying to be strong for the relatives who confided in me, but I soon realized that most people who are very worried or in distress over their loved ones, do not need for you to be strong, they just need you to care. And when you can be that person for them, that is when your heart becomes full. I am not sure what to expect in the future from each of these visits, but one thing I do know is, this is exactly where God wants me to be.

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