Serving on the pastoral care team is a special privilege that I have been blessed with for a number of years. My first visits occurred when I was serving as a seminarian. Initially I paired off with one of the clergy, and then I went on my own. One particular visit sticks in my mind. I was asked to go visit a St. Stephen’s parishioner who was in a nursing home and was dying. I was told that she probably would not be responsive as she had stopped talking. I had not met her before, nor did I know much about her other than that she was a long time member of the church and thus part of our family.
Needless to say, I was nervous. My nervousness did not come from being around sick and dying people. I had worked in an intensive care unit and had experienced that, but how would I be helpful to this woman as she was transitioning from life to death?
Offering the situation to God in prayer, I asked God to lead and guide me. Through that, I realized that I didn’t need to be a superwoman who knew everything. I just needed to bring myself, my connection to God, and my connection to St. Stephen’s.
Arriving in her room, I introduced myself as someone from St. Stephen’s. I received no response from her then or later as I said the 23rd Psalm and the Lord’s Prayer. Then something prompted me to open the Lift Hymn al and sing “It is Well with My Soul.” I did not know that music had been a major part of her life. The experience was moving, and I finished with a sense of God’s presence.
Just before I left, I walked around to the other side of the woman’s bed and kissed her on her forehead as I said my goodbye. Our eyes met, and then her eyes followed me as I walked toward the door. I could feel that moment filled with connection and with God’s grace.
— Dorothy Post