You know the saying that cracks are places where the light comes in? But what happens when we are in the crack of pain, fear, and confusion and there’s no light shining in? This past August, as I sat with the news about a possible ovarian cancer diagnosis, I was lost for a moment in that crack of “now what?”
Chaplains are people who are not afraid of other people who are stuck in the cracks of life. Chaplains, whether in medical, military, academic, or other settings, are fearless light bearers of hope. People who are called and trained in chaplaincy know how to go right up to the edge of the crack and not fall in.
One morning as I stood outside in my backyard, feeling lost in the crack of a scary new health condition, my cell phone rang. It was a hospital chaplain who also is a good friend. Just a few minutes earlier I had texted her an update about my upcoming appointment with the gynecological oncologist.
Right after I said hello she said, “So, how are you feeling? It’s ok to be scared.” And I lost it. I lost myself even more in the crack of fear.
And it was good. She gave me permission to feel these really big feelings and with her right there on the phone with me, I knew that there was a bottom to the crack. Her care and compassion created a soft place to land.
So I began to cry. Her grace, her presence, her witnessing of my pain was the light. And after our brief phone call, I felt lighter. I was still in the crack, but I was no longer lost and alone. As I write this now, several months later, I am well and all manner of things shall be well.
Blessed are the chaplains, as they accompany the wounded and broken hearted, for theirs is the realm of God.