Chaplain Jamie, representing the Sound of Life and her ministry, Compassionate Reach International, will be ministering in the Philippines until mid-January. Her goal is to bring psychological and spiritual care and trauma education to victims and caregivers. We’ll be bringing you her updates as we receive them.
I awoke again today to Christmas songs blaring from the church next door. I was one of the first up, along with Jenny who seems to be always working, the first to get up and the last to go to sleep. I thought about going to Mass in the wee hours of this morning, but discovered I had a moment of “good” reception (internet) and grabbed it before it was lost.
I turned on the hot water to drink my “3 in one” coffee – a mixture of instant coffee, sugar, and cream. Somehow the local tastes of coffee and rice taste wonderful in their developing country environment.
I keep reflecting back to yesterday and the new mom about to give birth to a baby, while consecutively grieving the loss of nephew, father-in-law, and now beloved Mom. I have not been privileged to do a foot washing in a very long time and am caught by how much humble service we miss out on in our sterile, financially prosperous, nations. Every day I witness tremendous joy amidst intense suffering and the indomitable spirit of the poor. I come to a deeper understanding of the word of Jesus when He tells us, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, the pure in heart, and those who mourn – for they shall see, touch, and inherit the Kingdom.”
Every day I hear my name, “Lola” called repeatedly from the children as they hang around the clinic, seeking love and attention. Maybe my piece of “being Christ” is to be here for them now. For Christian, whose parents are in Manila working… his tale – fleeing the typhoon with his elderly Lola (grandmother). Perhaps it is to hug and love on Nicole who repeatedly tells me her name after I informed her one of my children shares it as a middle name.
Maybe it’s simply to sit quietly with a mom while I take a pulse whispering, “I’m sorry about the typhoon” and watch her eyes well up with tears. Or maybe its to be here and learn more about Jesus and who He is molding me to be, reflected in eyes of his created, fallen, and suffering, world.
In chaplaincy, and in our trainings, we encourage being “present in the moment” – no thoughts from the outside to intrude upon the “ministry of presence” that we are representing as Ambassadors of Christ. Though presence is something that needs to be practiced, it can’t be gained without the spiritual discipline of being silent before God, of listening to His voice instead of the constant ramblings we often send up for our own requests to be granted. In this Sacred place I am reminded that it is in being still, that I know that He is God. The reasons for being here don’t matter as the days blend into one sacred moment of opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ, one life at a time.