August 4, 2009
Who do you say that I am? Mark 8:29
Have you ever bumped into someone in the grocery store and you can't remember from where you know them? Sometimes both of you might even say, "remind me where I met you?" and you laugh about that ol' short time memory issue. Or you smile, greet them and leave with a bubble over your head that says "I know that person from somewhere, but where?"
During "on call" the other night, there were several instances where I shared the space of a certain charge nurse. I kept bumping into him, and in my fog of trying to figure out my role, I kept vaguely recalling his face as familiar. Well, duh. He was the point person providing medical attention to the myriad trauma patients in the emergency room. As Chaplain, I was the point person providing spiritual attention to the patients and families who found themselves in this wilderness.
I often feel invisible in the early minutes of a trauma. The focus necessarily is on the patient's physical ailments. Who am I, then? Who do the nurses and doctors say that I am? I am learning to face my self-doubts at those times, remembering that usually later I am equally valued not for "doing" anything but for "being" present.
After four overlapping situations, this charge nurse looked right at me and cut through my fog. "Seems like a busy night, eh?" We chatted together while waiting for a patient to arrive by helicopter. We connected and got to share a bit about our "real" lives, not just our role in the hospital. I felt in that moment like good ol' me, not "The Chaplain," and I felt relief from that.
I learned from this encounter about my own need to connect with people. And, I learn from my supervision and group work that not everyone wants to connect. Can I be okay with letting others be in "their" fog?
Who do you say that you are?