The Baking Chaplain

baking imageAs a baker, I add ingredients to a bowl, mix, and bake for something super tasty. Baking is sequential, it is measured, it has very specific ingredients, and must be cared for in a particular way in order to come out as intended.
At the hospital as a chaplain in the Emergency Department nothing is predictable, things are done in response to situation in front of us. I respond to verbal and non-verbal cues, to hesitations, to tears, to codes, to nurses, to families, to patients, to any and everything behind the curtain. I never know what I will be walking into or what their response will be.
Yet, I know what my response will be. I know that I am praying before I enter the curtain. I know that most morning I will have spent time with the Lord praying and reading and talking with Him. I know that I am trying to listen to my Shepard’s voice, to love His people, to be His hands and feet in the midst of chaos. I know that I fall, that I fail, and more often than I wish I flounder hoping to do my best.
The nurses, aids, doctors, and others in ED have given grace and taught me in the midst.
If you think about it… they are the ingredients. All the people, all the symptoms, all the chaos get mixed in a room, and there is an outcome that may be beautiful or horrific yet it will come out as something. Some families leave with stiches or casts, some leave with a new baby in arms, some families won’t leave whole as someone is admitted or dies.
A baker looks forward to cookies, cakes, or loaves of bread. An ED chaplain looks forward to ushering people into the presence of the Lord while their world is turned upside down. The ED is it’s own mixing bowl with amazing ingredients with house supervisors watching and waiting so nothing burns or boils over.

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