by Rev Robert A Wendel
The Thanksgiving holiday is an ideal day to take at least a few moments to reflect on those things and people for which you are thankful. Good health is, surely, a primary blessing sought by everyone.
In October, I participated in the day-long fall conference of volunteer chaplains at Appalachian Regional Hospital. The “good word” shared by facility administer Rocco Massey concerned the vital importance of “making rounds” walking around the floors, connecting with patients, staff and visitors as the best way to maintain a high quality of patient care and satisfaction. Every trained chaplain learns that lesson early.
After one week of hospital duty at ARH, I try and take it all in, patient by patient, profoundly grateful for life. But, this month I’ll be sixty-six years old and no one lives forever. I, too, will face a day when news about my health will not be good, when, like so many in health care settings, my fears will be real as I notice my own health break down, when mortality grasps my hand and will not let go. So, I ask, “What has being a chaplain at six different facilities in thirty-five years taught me?”
Above all, I affirm that each day I live will be acknowledged as a pure gift, a moment of time that is unique, unrepeatable that must be savored, Second, I resolve to live each day with one primary purpose; to try and show love or respect to at least one other child of God.
And finally, the greatest gift that I can offer to my Heavenly Father is my heartfelt thanksgiving. For it is simple gratitude that is, often, the most healing medicine to humankind and it is thanksgiving that transcends all time and death.
Saint Ambrose said “No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.” Michael Levine wrote “The sign outside the gates of salvation says “Be grateful.”
The devotional speaker for the next ABC Men’s Breakfast on Nov. 8th at 8:00 am will be Rev. Jonathan Turner.
As always, we hope you’ll be able to join our fellow men for food, fellowship and some very good words.