There have been such huge gaps in my blog updates – it’s embarrassing. Honestly, the last few months have been a rollercoaster ride. After coming back from vacationing in India, we were thrust right into the routine of our everyday lives. But is there such a thing as routine in the work life of a professional chaplain?
So much has happened in the last few months both at work and personally. There is plenty to reflect upon and each of the major events in the last few months will be shared in future posts. But for now, I am reflecting on the freedom to express oneself. Apt, I reckon, since it is India’s 72nd Independence Day today.
The world of clinical chaplaincy is so fascinating. I’ve been getting to experience what it is like to be the family of a patient due to hospitalizations of a very close family member. It has pushed me more to reflect on how I felt being in a hospital in a state that I am not familiar with and supported by those who I rely on most for strength and comfort.
Does everyone have the freedom to reach out to those who are a source of strength and comfort for them? Is it possible for loved ones to always be there? Is it not gut-wrenchingly difficult to leave a loved one in the hospital overnight? And in some cases, add on a layer of a language barrier. Can you imagine what it feels like to be them?
In a world full of evidence-based outcomes, how do I ‘show’ what it feels like when my loved one is intubated? How do I ‘show’ the sense of freedom that comes with being to express one’s concerns in a language that is understood by both the care-giver and the care-receiver?
So many questions – some rhetorical of course.
Freedom to express – a beautiful thing nevertheless.
Until next time,
“If I can’t make it through one door, I’ll go through another door- or i’ll make a door. Something terrific will come no matter how dark the present.” ~Rabindranath Tagore
One of the most gratifying aspects of hospital chaplaincy is being able to witness how families come together in support of their loved one’s wishes – even if it means going against what they would have wanted for their loved one.
Organ donation is a major, albeit sensitive, topic in a hospital setting. Generally, it has not been a major topic of conversations among families and friends since frankly, it isn’t exactly a fun talk. As a hospital chaplain, I get a chance to walk through with patients and families after they have made a decision to donate organs. The entire process is so profound. Receiving feedback on how many people were helped through donation is even more gratifying, especially for those loved ones left behind.
So what does Hinduism have to say about organ donation? Hindus agree that the body is the temporary carrier for the soul and the soul is a priority. Thus, the attachment to the human body is to be negligible, especially at the time of death. With this belief process, the willingness to donate organs is more understandable. Having said that, the ultimate decision is made by the individual and/or their next of kin. Since Hinduism is such an open source faith tradition, Hinduism Today has some articles that briefly touch upon different perspectives on organ donation.
There is a lot of work ongoing to promote awareness regarding the need for more organ donors, especially those of Asian, South Asian origin. There is a dire need both here in the USA as well as India. There are some fantastic informercials that are being aired and circulated both on television and on social media. Here’s a link to one from Fortis Healthcare:
If possible, please agree to donate.
Until next time,
Who am I? Not the body, because it is decaying; not the mind, because the brain will decay with the body; not the personality, nor the emotions, for these also will vanish with death. ~ Ramana Maharshi