Last time I wrote about how people chaplaincy isn’t always as fulfilling as it’s perceived to be. Well it’s not so glum either. Chaplaincy, on its good days, is incredibly rewarding.
My sister was a nurse in a transplant ward for several years, and a friend of hers worked in a burn unit at a different hospital. When they talked about their jobs, they often said that they could do the job the other was doing. However they found their own jobs relatively easy to do. Part of this comes with familiarity. When you’re new to something, it’s stressful. However with time those things become mundane – even things that others would find shocking.
The same often happens with hospice. Often I hear family members say that this job must be terribly depressing, given that we deal with death every day. However the truth is that we do not deal with death every day. True we have our share of deaths and emergencies every week, but not necessarily every day. I find that the good days with my patients come more often than the bad ones. Being able to take a patient outside, share a funny story, hear memories from veterans, or be ogled and fawned over by old ladies (which happens in my case) can brighten my own day as much as my patient’s. I find their lives touch my own in so many ways and that I grow so much from them, that I find it hard to be depressed most days.