As a hospital chaplain, I have visited people from numerous Christian denominations and non-Christian belief systems. I have ministered to people of different races, of different cultures, of various sexual preferences, and even several transgender people. As a hospital chaplain, I strive to accept each individual as a fellow human being deserving of dignity, equality, and respect.
“You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?” (Gal. 5:7)
Ina was a native American with great athletic skills who loved to play softball. However, when her doctor told her that she could no longer play ball, she became very discouraged, lost hope, and attempted suicide. While she was in the hospital, I was asked to help.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? (Psalm 22:1).
Before Jesus spoke these words from the cross, they were spoken by a shepherd boy turned King. When I hear David cry out in anguish these words strike home. While I can’t relate to him as a King and all the strange events in his life, I can empathize with his anguish. At least three of his children have died. Another was raped by her stepbrother.
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” John 20:19
When Jesus walked into that locked room on the night of his resurrection and declared, “Peace be with you,” he was giving his disciples exactly what they needed for the state of mind they were in after the traumatic past few days. Today, we might describe what Jesus did as Trauma-Informed Care. Jesus met his disciples where they were, and acknowledging the trauma they had witnessed, he assured them that they were not alone.
I watched The Wizard of Oz, once again, for the umpteenth time (and I didn’t hide in my room when the twister came!). I was struck during this viewing at just how quickly Dorothy wanted to go back home to Kansas. For someone who longed for somewhere over the rainbow, she sure wanted to get back to bleak, boring-looking Kansas in a hurry. In Kansas, she felt unheard, maybe even unwanted, while in Oz there were all sorts of creatures who wanted to help her and truly enjoyed her company. Even though Oz seemed to be everything that Dorothy could have wanted, she wanted out. There was no place like home. But she needed the help of others, and she needed to help others in order to get there.