Luis D. Perez
- Healing Care Hospice Chaplain
I am aware that we live in a pluralistic religious society. Not everyone believes in the same “God,” or lack thereof. Therefore, I am sensitive not to impose my beliefs on families, patients and the hospice team.
With that said, I would like to kindly invite you to step into my world. A world where care is provided through therapeutic presence, empathy and counseling; where religious support is facilitated to those of different faith traditions (Buddhist, Catholics, Muslims, etc.); and where in the most darkest valley’s, the Transcendent becomes personal. I call these peculiar times, “Divine Moments.”
One sunny afternoon, I made a visit to a patient who was in a rapidly declining state. The patient's family was highly distressed and confused. When I walked into the room, there was a fearful silence. After speaking to the family and finding out they were religious, I spoke to the patient and reminded him that God was walking with him in the current darkness of his life.
As I reached down to hold his hands, the fast paced moving clouds covered the sun’s light—turning the room dark. It was as if the clouds knew the room’s emotional temperature. I pulled out my Bible and read Psalms 23, a well known Psalm of trust, which shows us that one must undergo hardship in life but no one needs to be afraid. After the reading, I said a prayer, all while emphasizing verse 4:
“..and even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will be with you.”
Unsure what it was but something inside me kept pushing me to remind the patient of this wonderful truth: you are not alone; God is with you as a beaming light.
As soon I finished the prayer, the cloud’s, sensing for the second time the room’s emotional temperature, moved away from the sun and brightened the milieu. One of the patient’s daughters pulled me to the side and said, “Chaplain, I need to talk with you.”
We walked into the living room where she poured out her heart saying, “I haven't been able to mourn and shed tears, until now. The reason I am so emotional is because yesterday when my father was going through a lot of pain and anxiety, he told us: 'I am walking alone in the darkness.' But after your calm presence and prayer, we now know God is truly with him.”
That sunny afternoon, although the family was experiencing grief and mourning, there was peace and comfort that surpassed all understanding. And this was a gift from above. Somehow, someway, the family knew that God had not abandoned them during these dire times.