It takes a very special person to be a hospice nurse. Not every nurse would be a good hospice nurse. We know that from experience.  I have several friends who are hospice nurses and I know that the patients and families that they work with are blessed because of the care and compassion that my friends provide. Their personal lives are often put on hold when the life of their patient is nearing the end. Nothing is more important at that moment in time than the patient and the family. The support that the family receives from the hospice nurse and the hospice staff before, during and after the demise of the patient isn’t just a job, it is a calling. Some people panic when the word “hospice” is mentioned. Easy enough to understand. What some people don’t understand, however, is the role that hospice can play in providing much needed support during the different stages of transition. They can help make a very difficult time a little easier simply by being a familiar and frequent presence,  and in being someone who has earned your trust and with whom you feel comfortable. Laura, Nancy, Victoria, Angel, Cindy, Laurie, Pam – you all have a special place in the hearts of many including mine.

A minister’s job isn’t easy. How could it be? Congregations big and small all have needs; some more than others. People depend on the minister(s) for guidance, for comfort, for answers. As the leader of the church, the minister must be in constant demand for everything from the usual Sunday and Wednesday responsibilities but also for the daily activities that occur in the life of the church. And then the unexpected occurs. A church member becomes ill. A family has an emergency. Someone in the community needs help and the minister’s name was mentioned as a good person to talk to. Like the hospice nurse, I imagine that the family life of a minister is often put on hold when a church member is going through a crisis. How stressful the life of a minister must be at times but I doubt that many people would ever recognize when their minister is experiencing this. As members of a church it is important that we recognize the needs of the minister and not take them for granted. We need to let our ministerial staff know how much they are appreciated. We need to ask what we can do for them. They give, give, give but how often do they receive? Yes, ministers are called to the ministry (at least most of them are) but they are human just like the rest of us. They are entitled to the same emotions, the same reactions as we are; they get tired. Their plate is already full and then another unexpected thing occurs so they adapt. Rusty, Tiffany, Ryan – you are all wonderful. Our church is blessed to have you. You are appreciated more than you know and you are loved even more. Thank you for always being there for us. We love you all.