Monday, November 10, 2008



Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place;
I can feel his mighty power and his grace.

I can hear the brush of angels' wings,
I see glory on each face;
Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place.

(Click to
hear this beautiful song.)

A four-hour stint in the hospital visiting patients as a pastoral care assistant, praying with a majority of them, is a quick way to understand the powerlessness that is the human condition. We alcoholics who have taken step one understand this condition of powerlessness. People who find themselves in the hospital often feel the consequences of their powerlessness in a sudden kind of way.

I was requested to visit several people in the ICU this morning. This is an experience that brings one into contact with the razor's edge of life and death. There was a person being airlifted out to a hospital in another city for a heart transplant that I prayed with. There was another woman on life support whose husband was "not ready to lose her". I was there to provide the ministry of presence - to just listen to him express his grief and horror at the thought of losing her, the ministry of touch - to place my hand on this gentleman's back, and the ministry of prayer - to place my hand on this woman's hand (she was not conscious and was on full life support) - and pray for her.

Today several people took my offer of a visit as an opportunity to talk and share a mini "life review". It is such an honor to be invited into a stranger's life, into their inner being, their history.

As I was leaving the patient rooms, coming down on the elevator, the song that is the title of this blog came to my mind. Anyone familiar with this song knows it usually refers to God's presence in a church. However, I felt the presence of God and the brush of angels' wings in the hospital today as I entered one room after another.

I often enter the hospital with a measure of trepidation, but as I moved from room to room and by the time I left the hospital, I felt as though I had been touched by my Higher Power and all the angels in heaven. As ZaneJabbers so often says, "Doesn't get much better than that."

Prayer Girl


Annette said...

I do a lot of hospice work and I can so relate to your feelings of it being an honor to be invited into the inner sanctum of a families most personal and intimate time. It is an amazing privledge. I am sure they are so comforted to have you by their side. Blessings to you.

Shadow said...

that must be extremely rewarding work you do!

Cat said...

It is all about the giving in this life!


AlkySeltzer said...

Ya know I just LOVE those angels, especially the one with the violin. Was I the model for that? Was I drunk then? It IS all about ME...right???


big Jenn said...

Thank You!I have met many people who do what you do over the years. They were always such a comfort to Annie and me. Annie made friends with many volunteers who spent many hours with her when I could not be there. The ICU is a place that we have also spent many, many hours. I have seen the faces of the people there. I have been the face of the people there. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Love Jen

Lou said...

I've spend time in the ICU, but as a paid employee. The pastoral care people are so appreciated. I have seen at the end of life, the kind touch of another human is an amazing comfort.