By Minister Crystall Williams, Chaplain
HERE TO HELP
As a Methodist chaplain, my mission is to care for our patients, their families and employees. I see the toll that COVID-19 is taking on all of them. The spiritual, emotional and financial fallout from these unprecedented times is real, and I am here to help.
COVID-19 is making patients feel isolated. The visitor restrictions are difficult but necessary. Oftentimes I am the link between patients and their loved ones while they are apart. I share messages of love and concern. One of the most important things I do is listen. I hear their pain and anxiety. I feel it. The hospital can be a place where families come together to forgive and heal, but the virus is interrupting that. Instead, they are feeling guilt and dealing with unresolved issues.
The focus on our caregivers is vital too. Not only are they helping sick patients who are scared, they are coping with some of the same emotions. It is a lot to process. From bringing the virus home, to financial concerns, to relationship strains, there are many reasons that stress is at an all-time high.
At the request of employees, we put a praying schedule together. Our team of chaplains now offers regular prayer at different times throughout the day. We also attend some of the staff meetings, where we offer words of encouragement and help put things in perspective. When caregivers feel better, it allows them to be at their best.
In regards to my family, I encourage my kids to regularly count their blessings. Life is not perfect now, nor will it ever be. It’s best to appreciate and give thanks for the good, because then God multiplies it. I give thanks for this job that has been exceedingly rewarding in these last few months.
One of the greatest revelations I’ve had during the pandemic is discovering the beauty of slow living. I remember how I once raced from one activity to the next, trying to do as much as possible. But now, how sweet it is to mosey around the house, linger over a second cup of coffee, or snuggle up for a leisurely nap! It’s so pleasurable dabbling in a crafty activity, self-soothing with a drawn-out stroll, or mellowing on the deck right along with the sunset. Those are the moments that prepare me for tomorrow.