The Gift of Presence

Recently I had the privilege of knowing a precious woman who was 101 years old.  This woman who had come from a musical family, was legally deaf and was also loosing her eye sight.  By the time I met her, her family had stated that they were once able to write notes to her, but because of her loss of eyesight, they had also lost that ability to communicate with her.

Communication with this lady had become a real challenge.  She still walked about with her walker because she could see shadows but she could no longer see to read, nor could she no longer hear to enjoy the voices of her loved ones or the music she once enjoyed.

On my initial visit, I tried to write to her and she just tossed the paper aside and got up with her walker and went to her room.  On another visit, she patted me on the leg, before she got up to leave, as if to say, “poor thing, she keeps trying.”

One day I went to visit and she was in her bed taking a nap before her noon meal.  When I touched her to let her know I was present, she started getting out of bed, almost as a reaction to a routine she was living.  Sleep, up to eat and back to bed for a nap.  I tried to communicate with her that it was not time to get up so I pulled a chair beside her bed and reached out for her hand.

This human contact, this mode of being present with another human being, appeared to be what she needed.  She grabbed my hand and clutched it tight and rolled over and went back to sleep.

There we were 101 and 58 year old women with the ability to communicate by being present and offering human contact.

This story reminds me that often what others need is someone to be present.  There was no fixing her loss of hearing and sight, there was no turning back the clock to a time of family and their love of music, but there was still present a desire to know she was not alone.  A human in need of human contact.  A human in need of knowing she was alive and present.  A human in need of an Incarnational Presence.


About gemmygem2013

I am a hospice chaplain, wife of 30 years and a woman with a heart for hope and healing and hospitality. The word "Bikos" is a Greek word which means Earthen Vessel. My life prayer has been "Make me a vessel that brings honor and glory to Your name." This is taken from the scripture verse that talks about becoming a vessel of honor 2 Timothy 2:20; "Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor." As a human, I see myself as a vessel seeking to bring honor to God through all that I say and all that I do. Sometimes that vessel is solid and strong, bringing honor and glory to God's name, and sometimes that vessel is cracked, in need of repair. As a hospice chaplain, I see the individuals and families that I work with as vessels of God, seeking either to be healed or seeking to bring healing to the world around them. Either way, we are all vessels of God, The Divine One, The God of Relationships. It is my belief that we are all seeking how to live in relationship with ourselves, with others, and with God. Some are further along on this path than others. This blog will be about myself as I learn what it means to become a vessel of honor and glory, about my life as a hospice chaplain, and the struggles I deal with in the day to day journey walking with others in hospice and in life. Blessings and Shalom
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One Response to The Gift of Presence

  1. Fay A Geving says:

    Gay, You will never know How much I Love You ! The Gift that you have is a true Blessing from God. I can only handle one patient at a time! Of course I am a 24/7 keeper however I am inspired by your writings !!! Keep it Up Girl !! God Doesn’t Call the Equipped – He Equips the Called ! You are a true Angel amongst us !!!!

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