Today I am grateful for heroes. All those people in our lives who, everyday, do the brave, right thing to make this world a better place. I love the above quote from Joseph Campbell. I have found this to be truer than true in my own life. The people who have had the most impact on me and on the world around them are the ones who are connected to something bigger than themselves, whose lives are about more than just feathering their own nest.
You may have noticed that my blogposts are often late on Wednesdays. That’s because every Wednesday I work at Hospice in the Berkshires as a chaplain. It’s a long day, ad it’s a day filled with heroes. The people I work with at Hospice and the people in the medical facilities that we visit are an amazing group of people. Everyday, they get up and try to make life better for people whose lives are very difficult. Today I spent time on a geriatric psychiatric unit visiting patients. I was simply awed by the staff on that unit. Here they were, surrounded by people that most others would be afraid of, or would simply avoid or just write off. But the staff on this unit gives their lives to these people. They work everyday to keep them safe, to treat them with dignity and respect and to let them know someone cares about them. It take courage, because some of these people are violent due to their diagnosis. These staff people see through the risk and recognize them as human beings in need of help.
The Hospice staff are just as brave. On 9/11, they described the heroes of that day as the ones who ran INTO the Twin Towers , not away from it, and all to help their fellow humans, people they had never met. The Hospice team is like that. Most people run away from death and are afraid to face it. These team members move toward people who are dying and care for them till the end of their lives. They have the courage to face the death and loss with their patients and their families. They walk into the homes of people they have never met and care for them with compassion and dignity. It never ceases to amaze me.
Maya Angelou had a great quote about heroes. She said: “I think a hero is any person intent on making this a better place for all people.” Those are the people I spend my Wednesdays with, and for that I am so very grateful.