In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.” Luke 10:23-24

Saying goodbye is hard. If it were easier, I think the bunch of us would have been out of the hospital sooner today. But as it is, we lingered until after 4:30, and said goodbye several times. And that was just to each other.

It was a whole day of goodbyes. Goodbyes to the nurses, doctors, techs, staff chaplains, and other staff. We might not mind saying goodbye to on-calls until 2:30 in the morning or Level 1 Traumas, but saying goodbye to people you’ve come to care about and love is a way different thing. Saying goodbye is just hard.

So we will have to dwell on the many blessings:

  • The times we supported one another in prayer and in word and in deed during the intense 11 weeks.
  • The prayer and liturgical experiences we were able to do together as an ecumenical group.
  • The referrals we passed back and forth with great confidence in the rest of the group’s ability to care for the sick and their families.
  • The sharing and challenging that was done in group with real concern for the growth of the other people in the group.
  • The mentoring from the staff chaplains.
  • The mentoring from the nursing staff and other staff members.
  • And so many more…

But what makes it so hard to say goodbye is how the whole experience came together. The hospital atmosphere, the staff chaplains, our supervisor, the group … I couldn’t have asked for anything better. Out of that milieu came all the really awesome things that I got to “see” as Luke’s Gospel is saying: The times words came out of my mouth that I never would have thought of on my own; the sense of peace after sitting with a dying patient; the intimate personal stories shared so freely by patients and families alike; the really intense times of prayer; our group’s morning devotions; the incredible grace of growing with a supportive group and the incredible grace of getting to watch them grow too; the many opportunities to debrief from intense experiences with fellow students, staff chaplains, and our supervisor; all the stuff that got sorted out in weekly meetings with our supervisor; the times we were just silly and all the laughter; the many tears of joy and sorrow; the intense atmosphere of the emergency room that helped me past my fear of it.

There’s more, I know. But all I can say at this point is that I’m incredibly grateful for this experience. Truly blessed are my eyes for having seen what I have seen.