Sometimes Our Ordinary Experience Brings Extraordinary Things
by Timothy Hughes Duff
About a month ago, I was at work in my office where I am the hospital chaplain and Coordinator of Spiritual Care.
I was looking through my daily email and I came across a contact from a colleague who is a volunteer hospice chaplain. Her name is Rebekah Domer . She shared with me that she wrote a book with reflections from some of the patients to whom she had ministered. After reading the sample she sent, I made contact. She then went on to share about how she had a friend named Fr Benedict Groeschel who was supportive. Not only was Rebekah not aware of my close connection to this holy priest but also she did not know about the Guild. Anyway, I think that her book could be useful for any of you who may have had a recent loss and may be struggling with grief. Here is what Rebekah has to say about her book:
“Without your wounds where would your power be?
The very angels themselves cannot persuade
the wretched and blundering children on earth
as can one human being broken on the wheels of living.
In Love’s service, only wounded soldiers can serve.”
I’ve known a number of “wounded soldiers” and am, perhaps, even one myself. I’ll leave that to others to judge. But, I know Thornton Wilder’s words to be true: it is the broken who Love employs in his service.
My sister had Down Syndrome, my dad, Alzheimers. I’ve had friends with bipolar and other disorders of the mind.
They were my teachers. And they led me to God.
I won’t elaborate about them. You can read their stories for yourself. My recently published book, “Broken but Blessed: Journeying from Pain to Peace with Unlikely Guides” features stories of people who discovered the hidden blessings in their pain and, through it, were transformed, becoming a blessing to others.
No one has illustrated this for me more than have the dying I’ve encountered in my work as a volunteer hospice chaplain. Stripped of all but the essentials, they speak straight from – and to – the heart. Meeting the gaze of a dying person – and holding it for more than a few seconds – requires exposing one’s own soul, for the dying truly see.
Any of us who find ourselves privileged enough to enter the sanctuary of the poor, the broken and dying, find ourselves in the presence of God. For God resides in a childlike heart, a heart humbled and cleansed of itself.
by Rebekah Dormer
(The book may be purchased by clicking on its title link)