Chaplain Chat

Each month, our chaplains write a Chaplain Chat for our internal newsletter. The messages were too good to keep to ourselves. So we decided to share them here. 

June 16, 2017

"Thank you for everything."

By Chaplain Jimmy Montgomery

While providing pastoral care to a family at the bedside of their loved one who transitioned from the Church militant to the Church triumphant, the eloquent voice of one family member whispered the profound words, "thank you for everything" to the deceased.

My mind began to reflect, wonder and ask quietly, did the proclaimer express words of appreciation and gratitude to the deceased when she was alive?  If so, when, how often, and under what circumstances? Was she given her "flowers" while she was alive? How often do we fail to express gratitude and appreciation to one another for who they are and for whose they are?  How often have we allowed good deeds done by others to go unnoticed. 

Four words, simplistic, yet profound and filled with grace. Four words, brief, however, affirming and assuring.  A concise sentence, even a toddler is taught to utter, "thank you." Four words that stands the test of time. Through such words redemption and reconciliation are birthed in estranged relationships. 

Today is a good day to give thanks. Today is the best day to give thanks. Why?  Because today is the only day we are privy to give thanks.  The Apostle Paul charged us to "give thanks in all circumstances."  (I Thessalonians 5:18).

May 4, 2017

Dealing with Stress

By Roger Rich

We all have stress. The only people without stress are dead.  My work is to find ways to deal with the stress in my life.  What are the signs that tell you that you are stressed? Worry, dry mouth, upset stomach, increased heart rate, can't sit still, headache, tense muscles.  My two big indicators are tense muscles below my shoulder blade and upset stomach when I speak to a large crowd.

After recognizing our symptoms how do we deal with our stress?  We identify the source of the stress, but sometimes we can't identify where the stress is coming from.

Ways to deal with stress are:  Exercise, Meditation, Prayer, and saying "No" in order to take care of yourself. Laughter brings energy, and saying 'Thank You' more often creates a more positive attitude within you. Walking and praying the Labyrinth at Providence Northeast Hospital helps reduce stress. Praying the Serenity Prayer also helps us have wisdom to know what we can change and to accept the things we can't change.  Contact Pastoral for more ways to deal with stress.

March 31, 2017

For What I Pick Up Along The Way 

By Lisa Hermann

One of my favorite television shows as a child was MacGyver.  I liked it immediately because of what he said in the pilot episode, but I didn't realize how profound it was until I was older. In the episode MacGyver has a messenger bag slung across his body. Everyone asks "What's with the bag? He shows them a roll of duct tape and a Swiss Army knife. They tease him because he carries a half empty bag.  

MacGyver replies, "The bag is not as much for what I bring, but what I pick along the way." This has become a cornerstone of my ministry and way of being.  Perhaps it might help you.    

I invite you to always carry an invisible bag slung across your body. No matter where you go, be cognizant of what you already have packed, but also always be on the lookout for what useful tools and gems of wisdom you can pick up along the way.

February 24, 2017

"Come to me"

by Donna Solesbee 

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)

How often this passage provides refreshment when we get overwhelmed by life's journey.  This is a reminder that we are not alone in whatever the day holds for us.  It is also a good reminder of how important it is to take care of yourself each day.  What is it that brings refreshment to you?  Is it walking outside, spending time with family or friends, reading a book, etc.?  There are many unique ways to get replenished.  We just need to get to know what works best for us.  It may be as simple as remembering to breathe, or as complex as planning an adventure.

January 24, 2017

God's Unexpected Presence

By Joan Bumpus

Many years ago my morning routine was to get out of bed, pour myself a cup of coffee, sit in my favorite chair and settle into prayer. I was intentional about inviting God to join me and inviting myself to be in the peaceful presence of God, not praying about anything in particular.  

All was well until I got my very first kitten. The kitten would get up in my lap and roam around until she found a comfortable spot to settle in. I found her quite distracting and began to regret getting her. I thought I would never be able to be attentive to God's Presence/Prayer again.

Then one day, I noticed...., that I had not noticed the kitten even getting into my lap. But there she was sound asleep. I began to think about how much she must trust me; how safe and secure and how warm and loved she must feel to be so sound asleep in my lap.

I began to imagine myself resting in the lap of God; engulfed in the safety and security of His arms; surrounded by His unconditional love for me; knowing I can always trust Him.  

This has become a very powerful image in my own prayer life and relationship with God. So, just when you least expect it. God may reach out to you, even through a kitten.

December 2, 2016

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven." (Ecclesiastes 3) 

By Kim Thompson

You might have heard this scripture before, and what a season to be living: a Presidency ending and a new one beginning, raging fires nearby, and the upcoming Holiday season. You might be excited, scared, or terrified. 

Whatever your feelings, know you're not alone. We tend to believe we have to rush through whatever emotion we have and get to the "good feeling" we can't sit in the sadness, fear, or grief.

In the Jewish tradition, grievers sit through Shiva: 7 days, starting the day of burial, which allows the immediate family to mourn the loss of their loved one. The community tends to every need of the family. 

Understanding that our feelings take time to process will help us to keep moving forward. Skipping the understanding can lead to unresolved grief in the future.

Whatever your particular tradition this winter: May we sit, wait, and acknowledge our feelings and not rush ourselves through this important season.

October 28, 2016

"Invoke My Name"

By Reverend Dr. Jimmy Montgomery, Chaplain

I am intrigued and fascinated at the extent parents go through to select the perfect and unique name for their bundle of joy. Exciting to me is the person who takes the time to learn a person's name, remembers a person's name, and invoke a person's name when seeing them again. Ann Spangler's Praying the Names of God suggests, "names in the ancient world...were often thought to reveal the essential nature and character of a person."

At Providence, we extend Christ's healing ministry to our patients, visitors and each other.  I implore you to invoke the name of your God and the name of one another in your interactions.  When you speak a name, the one whose name is invoked is drafted into a unique time and space, is energized, empowered, and claimed by a unique deity. They experience solitude, healing and a peace, "which passes all understanding." 

The Hebrew prophet and messenger, Isaiah, God's spokesperson said "I call you by your name, I surname you, though you do not know me" (Isaiah 45:4C). God knows our name, God remembers our name, and God calls us by our name. Let us do the same with His and our neighbors'.

September 23, 2016

A Thought on Perfection

By Roger Rich

On vacation in the mountains of North Carolina, the title of a devotional caught my eye, "Perfection." The quote that got my attention was "never be satisfied."  The scripture was from Matthew 5:48, "You, therefore, must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect."  

I thought of the things that I could change to make my life a little more perfect spiritually.  The prayer of St. Francis of Assisi came to my mind, talking about consoling people, understanding others, loving as God loved, giving from your heart, pardoning others and dying to self. I can change my attitude when people rub me the wrong way. I can be an instrument of peace. I can walk with others and show compassion.  

What can you do to be a little more perfect in God's eyes?  Psalms 46:10-11, tells us, "Be still and know that I am God. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge." God walks with us as we make changes in our lives so we can help others and be more like God.

August 19, 2016

Making Use of Our Moments in Time

By Lisa Hermann

During the Olympics, broadcasters spoke of songs written for various Games. One was Whitney Houston's 1988 "One Moment in Time."

Each day I live / I want to be /  A day to give / The best of me / I'm only one / But not alone / My finest day / Is yet unknown... / ...When I'm more than I thought I could be

I thought about our Providence team.  We have to be individuals like the golfers and sprinters, and teams like the rowers and relay runners. It takes each of us to save lives and heal the sick, and like in the Games, we take those individual gifts and talents, successes and failures, and combine them to one medical team.  

We all want to give the other our best, and there will be triumphs and failures, learnings and new developments. I believe that our finest day as Team Providence is yet unknown, and I look forward to the day when we collectively say "today we were more than we thought we could be."  That will be one of our moments in time.