In Times Like This

As a Chaplain in a Level One Trauma Center with approximately 1,140 beds, and an outpatient clinic that sees 1,500 persons daily, we see a lot of miracles every day.

People have surgeries of every kind here, others participate in specialized treatments, and still others receive life-giving medicine.  Hopefully all receive care and compassion from an amazing staff of professionals.  People come to us broken, and very sick, and most of them leave so much better than before they came to see us.  Some call it medicine, others call it miracle.  I believe it is both.

And then there are others, the ones who no matter what our medical teams can offer, no matter how fervent our chaplains can pray, no matter how much love and tenderness is given, there is no miracle for this patient, and they die.

Today my heart is heavy because of the deaths that have happened recently.  A young person with so much life ahead is killed in an automobile accident.  A young mother and wife dies of a disease we could not cure.  A grandfather and father much beloved cannot overcome his illness this time like he has so many times before.  The list is long.

And so I pray.

God, in times like this, give these families comfort, strength, and peace that only you can give.  In times like this, we do not have words to say that can take the pain away.  In times like this, use us somehow to show your love for the human family and remember that all are our brothers and sisters.

God, in times like this, I pray for our chaplains, social workers, music therapists, occupational and physical therapists, nutritionists, pharmacists, information specialists, lab techs, nurses, patient transporters, environmental service workers, physicians, administrators, and all who work in the hospital, and all who care for the sick.

God in times like this, help us to care for ourselves so that we can take care of those you have entrusted to us.  Give us rest and sleep, healthy nutrition, exercise, sharp minds, and renewed spirits that resolve to care for others as we would for our own family members, because indeed they are.  And as we grieve with our patients and families, help us to turn to one another and to you as the Sustainer and Giver of Life.  Amen.”

Rev. Malcolm L. Marler, D.Min. is the Director of Pastoral Care at UAB Hospital.

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