Pastoral Care-givers
The Story Book of Life

A mother, who had terminal cancer, and her daughter, experienced many problems in their lives. These difficulties created a close bond between them. When the mother was dying, her daughter felt guilty that she had not taken the opportunity to ask her to record some stories, which she might let her children listen to in future. She wanted her children to know the kindness and experience the love of their grandmother. At that time, as the patient was dying, the daughter was unable to do any recordings. The daughter felt upset and miserable. During our exchanges, she found that the experience she and her mother had was already a very touching story book. It contained much faith, love and hope to fight against the adversities of life. She could jot them all down and let her children read them one by one in the future.

Sometimes, illness can be seen as a separation, tearing us away from our previous physical, social, psychological and spiritual good health. The feelings of guilt, fear of the future and the pain of suffering frighten us so much when we are facing our own death. But, faith, hope and love can help to remove the shadows of impending death.



Love is just around the corner

Before I begin to work each day, I try to keep in mind the main purpose in my pastoral ministry - to spread love among the patients. Instead, I am the one that experiences love through mutual sharing with different patients and their relatives. Like the situation of an old lady with dementia, who had a daughter that took painstaking care of her mother despite her continuously agitated behavior. And there was a 90 year-old old man who steadfastly, every afternoon, visited his wife of 70 years old.

No matter how much disease, pain and death I see in the hospital, I can always find love around the corner. Love, just like Jesus is always with us.


The Chef and His Chopping Boards

A patient, who is a chef, had been working in a restaurant for nearly thirty years; both his boss and his customers praised his cooking. After retirement, both elbows had given him a great deal of pain. He kept asking, why is this, and grumbled that old people were useless. After listening to the resentment in his voice, I expressed empathy for the chef. And…then asked him if he used just one knife throughout his entire career. The chef replied “no” and emphasized that even several bulky chopping boards were scraped by his own hands. Soon after that, the chef burst out laughing and said that he understood it was his work activities in the past that caused him the pain now, but it was all worthwhile! I had reflected back some valuable memories to help him face his illness. Maybe it was the patient’s denial that caused his ignorance of the facts that lay before him.