Parents feel a particular kind of pride when their children turn out well, grow into responsible adults, become parents, find fulfilling jobs. These stepping stones of life bring affirmation that as parents, maybe we did OK. Probably we take too much credit, but there is no denying the pride we feel.
Our three daughters, now grown, are married and living active lives as parents and serving productively in professional positions. Strange, though, how each is so different from her sisters in personality and personal style. We love them equally. In today’s blog, I will focus on just one, who serves as chaplain at two elder care facilities operated by the Lutheran church. She is an ordained minister, holds a master’s of divinity degree, which she earned while raising two children. She has served several churches as associate pastor, vicar or pastoral intern. She’s an inspiring preacher. Yes, I’m her father, bound to show bias, but it’s true. She’s a crackerjack preacher, and she would love to be pastor of a church not too far from her children’s schools, but that ideal position has eluded her so far.
While she awaits that call, a beautiful thing has happened. Serving as chaplain to older folks, many of whom are suffering age-related illness, has developed in her an even greater capacity for compassion and skill at sensing how best to be a source of inspiration and strength to the people she serves. “I love my job,” she states with a grin.
Today, my inbox delivered a message from her that might summarize the effects of her ministry to others. She wrote: “Sat with resident in courtyard of assisted-living facility. We could hear music from the Fifties as staff set up the Halloween party. When a slow song came on, I stood up and asked her to dance. We hugged, moving our feet and hands slightly, for the song. When we sat back down, she had tears of happiness in her eyes. This is why I do this.”
Today’s word: literally. It means actually, that it truly happened. The coach literally blew the roof off the gym when his team lost. Wrong. The roof is still there. She literally stayed glued to the computer screen for hours. Also wrong. She wasn’t actually glued to the screen. The word literally often is used incorrectly for emphasis.