Entry 5: Servant size, Me!
Updated: Nov 6
I remember one of my worst days of my hospital chaplaincy clinical's, it was the day I covered a resident chaplain’s unit, the Children's Intensive Care Unit (ICU). I didn’t have any idea that I would, feel the way I felt nor respond the way I responded. That day I was given the patient visit consults for thirteen children ranging from being in the crib, several months old to about 13 years old. I took the consults in the chapel to pray over and review them. I prepared my mind, heart, and a few songs that I normally used as prayers for children such as, “I’m a promise!” I had know idea when I started visiting the children that I would feel the way I did. I basically lost it emotionally, I visited a happy baby that started dancing when I sung to him and his mother. His mother was so happy and thankful that I came and cheered him up. But the baby was on the wait list for a liver transplant, tubes were everywhere on him. He wasn’t doing good, nor did he look good. But when I started singing to him, he mustered the energy to jump around his bed to the song smiling and he even put his little hand on my gloved hand while he was jumping around.
I kept my hospital chaplain appearance and countenance cheerful, but my heart was breaking inside. I went to the next room, a nine-year-old little boy, diagnosed with brain cancer. The list went on and on like that, but I kept visiting the children patients until I visited every last one. These visitations took me about 2 ½ hours to complete. I promise you I didn’t know that I was going to do this, but I did it. I couldn’t take it anymore. I don’t even think I said goodbye to the nursing staff, I just left the unit. I returned to the chapel and stopped for a moment to try to close out my visits in prayer, but I really couldn’t. I was working hard at trying not to break down and cry. Then I stopped in the chaplain office to try to chart the ICU children patient visits. I logged into the computer to try to start charting, but I couldn’t see the monitor because of the tears. So, I just left.
Yeap, I got up out of the chair in front of the computer and just left. I packed up, I got my belongs out of my locker and just left. I took the commuter bus to the hospital, there are only a few opportunities to catch them. I left the hospital that morning at around 11:30am. The commuter bus wouldn’t pick me up until around 3:00pm. I didn’t care, I needed to get out of there! I couldn’t stop crying. I mean the ugly crying. I got to the bus stop to wait for the commuter bus and literally cried the entire time. I called my best friend/ecclesiastical covering while I was waiting, and I told her what happened through the tears, she prayed for me as she often does many times, but this day was ridiculously painful. I couldn’t bear it, I cried for almost 2 hours sitting there waiting for the bus. Waiting for the painful visions of the suffering children to stop replaying in my mind. I was just waiting for my heart to not feel the pain of what I had witnessed. What do you do when experiences like this one are processes that the Lord uses to prepare you to be His servant?
The McDonald’s golden arches mean, you deserve a break today, right? Yet, this picture depicts, what was happening to me as I was doing children ICU patient visit. There really should be thirteen of those little people break up those golden arches, I mean me. Because, I felt like I was unbearably being broken up that day. “Servant size Me,” means to be broken for His use and service (Pressey, (2017). “Servant leadership is a philosophy and set of practices that enriches the lives of individuals, builds better organizations and ultimately creates a more just and caring world,” (Center for Servant Leadership, 2017). Now, I totally didn’t feel adequate with this calling on my life, I did it painfully, but I did it, it broke me. When I got home that evening, I didn’t even eat, I just went to bed, exhausted and emotionally drained. Of course, I know that the Lord called me for this through my own personal suffering, but WHY? This was way too hard to be a part of the intimate suffering of others, especially not children. Yet, I had to push through it. God gave me the strength to push through it. As a matter of fact, I’m tearful right now, three years later, while I’m writing and remembering the recount of that day.
But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant
(Matthew 23:11, KJV)
Growing in servanthood in any area of ministry is a necessary process that one must go through to be used by God. In reflection, I noticed that I had stopped wanting to quit the hospital chaplaincy CPE program. In spite of this really bad emotional ministering day, I didn’t even think of wanting to quit anymore. When one is encouraged to achieve in society, we are pushed towards reaching for successes, greatness, being the best or fame. Most individuals want to be validated and admired by the masses to claim one’s success or feel that they have made it to the top and/or arrived in this world. But in comparison God’s view of one being successful and great are the complete opposite of our human ways of thinking. To become golden arches in God, one must be built from a place of faith and by putting one’s trust in God to supply everything one needs and especially when dispensing in ministering to others. He’s the Master and maker of everything. He will keep repairing and renewing one whenever it is needed. It took me a few days to recover from the emotional aspect of ministering that day, but I did, because he strengthened me so that I could be ready to do it again when called upon. And He will do the same for you if you let him. So, when you deserve a break, take it and get it directly from the Master’s hand of GRACE!
Closing Prayer: Meditations on Healing*
“When I panic, God, teaches me patience. When I fear, God teaches me
faith. When I doubt myself, God teaches me confidence. When I despair,
God teaches me hope. When I lose perspective, God show’s me the way
back to love, back to life, back to Himself.”
Here a sneak preview: You Deserve a Break today! Until next time.
For the sake of the Chaplain’s healing Call!
Chaplain Jacqueline M. Pressey, Ed.D.,
Central Conference of American Rabbis (2012). “Where Healing Resides,” pg. 7.
*(Pressey, 12/2/17 with my additional inclusion editing).
Luce, E. (2015). Retrieved (5/19/20). “The End of the Golden Arches Doctrine,” from
Slammed Ham (2017). “10 Weird McDonald’s Facts You Never Knew,”
“McRecognised,” from https://slappedham.com/10-weird-mcdonalds-facts/2/