We tend to look back as we move forward, examining those encounters that may apply to the present.An exact application is elusive. Today’s challenges differ from yesterday’s as much as my own pale against those of working chaplains. Retired folk mostly set our own pace. Except when another person sets an appointment. A stress test (canceled because we ate chocolate). Cataract surgery. Time for a hearing check, a dentist visit. In other words, the need to maintain and repair.
Yet, what do we really know about coping? We may examine the actions of those we have visited who have coped with problems much larger than ours. Sitting beside a younger man suffering from end-stage liver disease. He was the most “up” person I have ever met. He spoke of his family, especially his kids of whom he was proud. Accompanying a mentor to a locked ward to visit a young woman who listened to a long story, accepted quietly, as a respite from her confusion.
My scheduled visits fade to black as these actions compel imitation.
Dom is a retired Clinical Chaplain who lives in Littleton, Colorado. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.