Sometimes I Just Sit
I first met Sister Pam Nosbusch through our music ministry at St. Matthew. She plays clarinet beautifully with us on Sunday mornings. In getting to know her, I’ve learned a bit about the work that she does as Hospice Chaplain. Knowing that it takes a special person (and a calling) to do this kind of work, I invited her to write about her perspective and experiences. Sister Pam is a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, OH. She currently ministers as a Chaplain with Kindred Hospice.
I believe you’ll be able to relate, in some way, to the thoughts she shares in the article below.
Sometimes I Just Sit
By Sister Pam Nosbusch
In Job 2:13 we are told that Job’s three friends sat with Job seven days and seven nights with no one saying a word to Job. Job had experienced many losses one after the other including the death of his children. As Job took in all that happened he was lucky to have such friends that came to be with him and just sit. I think Job’s friends set a good example for us! At times, as a Chaplain, I am like the friends of Job in that no words are necessary or needed. I just sit.
As a Hospice Chaplain I am often called upon to listen as a patient or their loved one talk about their concerns, fears and hopes. I am often called upon to be with people who did not want to talk but did want someone to be with them and keep them company. Like the friends of Job I just sit without saying a word. Perhaps the patient or their loved one wants someone to hold their hand. I sit with this person and hold their hand providing a loving and peaceful presence for them. In the silence I pray silently for the person I am with asking God to provide them with what God knows they need.
There are times I am called to be with people who can no longer talk. When I am with such persons I just sit and provide a caring and peaceful presence for them while also praying silently for them. I trust that God will help the person I am with know that someone who cares about them is with them. Other times when I would just sit with someone involved in caring for a family member who is in their last days on this Earth. As the family members worked on taking in what was happening with their loved one, I would sometimes just sit with them. Being with a family whose loved one just died is another time of just sitting with someone for there are no words to ease their pain at a time of such great loss. Another example of when I just sit is when I visit a patient with some form of dementia who is at the end of their Earthly life. Not only is this person unable to communicate but often they are not awake. I just sit with this person praying silently and trusting God helps the person I am with know that someone who cares about them is with them. Family members take comfort in knowing I am sitting with and praying for their loved one.
Being able to just sit is something I have grown into. When I was beginning my journey as a Chaplain I often thought I was “going to do something.” I’m going to do a visit. I am going to check on this person or that staff member. It has taken the nine years I have been ministering full-time as a Chaplain to grow into “going to be with” instead of “going to do something.” This is something I have to keep working on and growing in…..going to be with…..going to just sit. It has involved a change in my mindset to be able to go be with. This is something that Job’s friends teach so well.
Sometimes all we need is for someone just to sit with us in our time of need. Job’s friends understood this and provided this kind of care to their friend…to just sit. Just sitting with someone is not an easy thing to do! I think in some ways we, as humans, are programmed to have an answer for everything or have the “right words” to say. It’s not easy in our fast paced society just to sit and be much less just to sit and be with someone. I think learning just to sit and be with ourselves and with another person are lessons well worth learning. Of course this is a lesson I continue to learn over and over again!
The next time you have a friend or loved one experiencing great difficulty perhaps you can offer to pick up a pizza and come to watch television or some other way to just sit with that person enjoying pizza and good company. It might be what you both need…..to just sit with each other.