“You do WHAT for a living?” Part 3

There’s something else people tell me when they find out I’m a hospice chaplain.

“It takes a special person to do that.”

I don’t know if they mean special as in unique, or special as in special education.  Either way, I don’t think it’s true.  It takes a special person to crack the human genome.  It takes a special person to do a 90 minute space walk to repair the Hubble Telescope.  It doesn’t take a special person to love someone in need.  I do think those who are best equipped to do hospice work are Christians.  When the Holy Spirit takes your heart, breaks it, and transforms it so that you no longer live for self, it’s easy to love those who are in such need.  I’m not saying the work is easy–sometimes it is downright emotionally devastating.  But, as the old hymn says, we’re to rescue the perishing and care for the dying.

The ancient Christians would go into cities infested by plague when everyone else was fleeing.  They would care for the dying, even losing their own lives to the disease.  They were simply being like Jesus.  That’s all I’m trying to do–be Jesus to these people who are dying and to their families, both before and after their passing.

Turnover in our company is pretty steady.  Hospice work can burn you out, and the main reason (in my opinion) is that hospice forces you to face your own mortality–that one day, it could be one of your family members; that one day, it will be you.  As a follower of Jesus, I’m prepared to face my own mortality.  It makes my job easier for those people of faith.  It also breaks my heart for those who aren’t people of faith.  But that’s what helps me do my job–I’m simply trying to be Jesus to those who’ll have me visit them.

How are you being Jesus to those in pain–whether it be physical, spiritual, emotional, or relational?


About Aaron

Aaron is a follower of Jesus. He's married to his smokin' hot wife Laura and is the father of three adorable girls. He enjoys a robust cigar, a complex root beer, a good movie, writing, football, thought-provoking books, and rousing discussions about subjects you're not supposed to talk about (like theology and politics). Religious people irritate him (because he once was one). He's on a quest to find the perfect dry rub and sauce for ribs.
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4 Responses to “You do WHAT for a living?” Part 3

  1. David Willis says:

    Thanks. That made total sense and I needed to read it.

  2. Laura says:

    Yeah. You ARE pretty special though–and I don’t mean Special Ed special. And you’re pretty awesome. I am so glad that you have a job that you enjoy and that allows you to make such a significant difference in someone’s life–and you get paid to do it with is pretty cool. I know for a fact that patient’s families appreciate you (since I have met one of them!). You are Jesus to so many people and it inspires me to be a better person and better Christian. I know that Priscilla appreciated you today and I’m sure she will remember you and that she saw Jesus in you!

  3. Koffijah says:

    “It takes a special person to do that.”

    Translation: “I would never have any desire to do that whatsoever, and hope God never asks me to do it because I would feel like a real bum declining the opportunity.”

    • Aaron says:

      That, and people don’t want to face their own mortality by helping others who are facing theirs now because it is uncomfortable (and it’s not nearly as uncomfortable as it would seem).

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