Friday, June 12, 2015

Blessing the Hands

"Clearing" by Martha Postlewait
Do not try to save
the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
Instead, create a clearing
in the dense forest of your life
and wait there
until the song
that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself
to this world
so worthy of rescue.


Today was our annual hospice volunteer luncheon, which is always a fun and touching event.   And I was so excited to go--I made it the whole time!! This is huge because I haven't eaten in a restaurant--in uncomfortable chairs!--since my surgery.  And you know how I love eating in different restaurants.  I also haven't seen my hospice friends since March either, so it was good to see them.  It gets lonely at home by myself.

It was a lovely event, with a special blessing of the hands that the chaplain performed. "May your hands be blessed as you offer compassionate care to those that you touch," she said.  Actually, we perform it on each other, saying a blessing or a wish for the person next to us as he or she dips fingers in the basin.   "In this work, may you be a comfort to others and, when you are in need, may you be comforted," I said to the person next to me.  The person on my other side wished me healing and a full life.  

And we ate great food!  It's so much nicer not to be a vegetarian at these events--pasta is usually the phoned-in dish.  But the rest of it was delicious.  (I do feel the pull of vegetarianism strongly, but it will probably just be a larger percentage, not total.)  There were also cake pops, as there always are at our gatherings; someone in the office makes them--and I get sent home with extras for the kids!

All the volunteers received nice swag--both volunteer appreciation bags with candy and pens and such, and things with our company logo on it (an insulated lunchbox--last year was a picnic blanket--we are part of a multi-state corporation that provides hospice; they are required by federal law to have a volunteer corps--it's a nice change from non-profits sometimes!  We eat better.)--and were recognized for our work.  The daughter of a former patient gave a moving speech about how our hospice team helped with her mother's dying.  It was a nice addition to hear from a family member, especially since we have no contact with the family after the death (that's the bereavement team.)

I love this work and I really like my team.  Today was extra-special because of these last few months.  It's nice to be a volunteer again, and not a patient!!!

(Though, thankfully, not anywhere near a hospice patient in March.)


Blessed be the hands that have touched life.
Blessed be the hands that have nurtured creativity.
Blessed be the hands that have held pain.
Blessed be the hands that have embraced with passion.
Blessed be the hands that have closed in anger.
Blessed be the hands that have planted new seeds.
Blessed be the hands that have harvested ripe fields.
Blessed be the hands that have cleaned, washed, and scrubbed.
Blessed be the hands that have become wrinkled with years.
Blessed be the hands that are scarred from doing justice.
Blessed be the hands that have reached out and been received.
Blessed be the hands that feed those who are hungry.
Blessed be the hands that comfort the dying and touch the dead.
Blessed be the hands that greet strangers.
Blessed be the hands that guide the young.
Blessed be these hands.

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