Thursday, 2 February 2017

Journal: More miles than a London bus

Well that's how it seems some days as I find myself on the road and delivering God's love on the streets and clocking up the miles, but I wouldn't have it any other way :-)

It's odd how the miles clock up each day as I visit people in their homes, turn up at hospitals and stuff like that - but it allows me to listen to Women's Hour, plays and other great radio between the visits - which is kinda cool.

So it's been visits and more visits - the simple stuff that makes the day go quickly in a most enjoyable way - and getting sermons written and revisiting the material for the first session of the Bishop's Certificate course. The latter being something of a challenge from the fact that you never know who will actually turn up on the night, but we had nine of us around the table with the promise of a couple more next week, and it seemed to go well.

Sadness came in the shape of people I know entering that last phase of life, the fact that for one of the people it is far too early and this makes it all a lot sadder than it would usually be. Another, although having reached a good age still clings to life - and we cling to them, reluctant to let them go.

Tonight, as the day is gone and the new entered into, I find myself unnaturally tired and my emotions flip from one state to another as that tiredness, aches and pains and frustrations and joys collide - and yet, beyond it all, there is an inexplicable joy and sense of a good day done.

Lord, reach out Your hand and strengthen those whose life is coming to its close and in doing so comfort those who prepare to lose their loved ones.

Be with those whose needs are many and whose strength is low; help those with broken bodies, minds and spirits to withstand the storm before them.

For those who are far off, I pray that You would be their rock and shield and that they might come to see Your presence in their lives.

And for me, my daily bread consumed and my sins forgiven, help me to live as you would have me live - to live like You and to love all before me regardless of the their their situation or state.

Lord, graciously hear my prayer.

1 comment:

UKViewer said...

Parish visiting is a dying art - but you are an arch exponent of the discipline.

We share the load here, with Vicar, Curate some Lay Pastoral Carers and LLM like me.

We are a once church parish, while you have the complications of a wider benefice to deal with - no wonder the miles are totting up. For us, probably the Crem is the widest that we need to roam, but we also have three hospitals where patients might be sent, so knowing where they are is important. Lewisham is the farthest away, but is a major teaching hospital, so people often end up there. Closer to hand we Have Queen Elizabeth (the old military hospital) at Woolwich and Darenth Valley in North Kent. And occasionally, the much reduced Queen Mary's Hospital in Sidcup, which is mainly a rehabilitation and treatment centre these days.

In addition, we have a local residential mental health unit, which occasionally has visiting duties. Not by me though.

Visiting is a privilege and worthwhile pastoral care responsibility, and often end up with supporting people with their ongoing care needs if they're not able to return home immediately, or in the longer term. We have people who are good at that sort of thing, including our Vicar, who is a care champion.

But care is such a fickle thing to try to organize, often being held up by long delays in assessments, and infighting between NHS and Local Authority or Commissioning Group on who pays what. Care in their own home is the best option, but often the appointed carer can't cope with their needs - frustrating and worrying for the needy and their families.