|March 16, 2019
By Kate Meyer
1 To you, O Lord, I call;
my rock, do not refuse to hear me,
for if you are silent to me,
I shall be like those who go down to the Pit.
2 Hear the voice of my supplication,
as I cry to you for help,
as I lift up my hands
toward your most holy sanctuary. …
7 The Lord is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts;
so I am helped, and my heart exults,
and with my song I give thanks to him.
Read the full psalm.
When people learn I am a hospice chaplain, what I receive in response is the human version of the Labrador head tilt. In case you don’t know, when Labs are engaged in conversation with their humans, they maintain eye contact and tilt their head back and forth, signaling their engagement. Their eyes are very expressive and change depending on key words. For instance, the word walk leads to bright, excited eyes, while the word noresults in something bordering on betrayal. When they are told their human is sad or hurt, however, their head tilts even more, their eyes fill with sympathy, and a paw of comfort is extended. It is this last tilt I receive from people, usually accompanied by this verbal response: “I can’t imagine. That must be really hard.” I normally respond with a word or two about how it is also an honor and that I’ve been blessed to witness many holy moments.
In many senses, my patients are in the pit; what makes them unique is their willingness to be open to all things that make up their pit. A quiet energy fills the room as we talk and open the Word. We feel the Holy Spirit descend as everything is laid out on the table.
God enters into the pit with them and hears their cry to the One, the only One, able to remain firm in their final season of transition. They lift their hands to that same One, and God helps. Their hearts are exulted and they give God thanks.
In this season of examination, no matter the pit you are in, name it and lay it bare before God. Do so and that same One will lift you with strong, protective arms from darkness to light.