What Are You Thinking?
I admire the hospice workers and chaplain who have served my family through my father's terminal illness. Amazing people doing amazing work with excellence, patience, and compassion. They've been through the process dozens of times, but we hadn't, and yet they never acted like it was just another case.
There was one question by the chaplain that really stood out to me. Dadd (that's how we spell it for him) was partly coherent, weak, and uncomfortable. But we wanted another opportunity to talk about spiritual matters and assurance of salvation. The chaplain sat with us for a while, alternately saying nothing and quietly chatting about lesser things. Dadd just sat there, eyes mostly closed, shifting in his recliner from discomfort. Then after a while, sensing it was the right time, the chaplain asked his question.
It wasn't the question I was thinking or would have even thought of. My question would have been to the point, pressing toward a particular conclusion, overtly Christian, and likely completely inappropriate.
The chaplain simply asked, “What are you thinking, Budd?” And then he waited patiently for Dadd to muster a response.
What a brilliant question! Even then, with no more obvious a ticking clock on someone's life, he assumed a listening posture to allow the other to own his own thoughts. No pressure. No forced conversation. But then a wide open avenue to discuss how his thoughts connect with the Gospel.
Do we have the courage and patience to ask? We take the initiative by asking, but we give the other dignity and respect to own their own thoughts. Very likely, it will also give us wider avenues to connect their thoughts to the Gospel.
The conversation that ensued ended with the strongest signs of his salvation than we had ever seen before, and an immediate look of peace on his face.