Proverbs 4:20-23 – My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. (KJV)
Among the words in his song, "Beautiful Boy", John Lennon sings, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."
To us hospice volunteers, "life" is what has happened to those with whom we share the journey, when they've made other plans. Terminal illness or a death disrupts what was a "normal" life, sabotages retirement plans, interferes with a young family's future, and, without asking, rearranges a person's identity.
Each Hospice Society is unique unto itself, offering a myriad of programmes for the terminally ill and bereaved, with trained volunteers. Locally, we do not have a free-standing hospice, but through the programmes offered by our Society, we may choose to volunteer with the palliative ward in the hospital, with telephone support, with grief groups, with the weekly bereavement walk, with one-to-one client support, or with several other programs and activities.
A large majority of hospice members volunteer because "life" is also what happened to them when they'd made other plans. Volunteering is their way of giving back from the heart some of what they received through their journey.
We are often asked how we can do this "work". Speaking for myself, though I know there are many who would join me, my reply is simply that I could not do it without God's guidance and support.
No matter what path we are put upon, as Christians who look to life everlasting, it is not enough simply to ask for God's forgiveness. We cannot just pay lip service. In Proverbs, we are asked to keep His Word in our thoughts, our eyes, our ears, our hearts — throughout the life we are given on this earth.
Prayer: Be with us, Lord, we pray, in word, thought, and deed. May we trust that You are ever with us, as You guide us through Your choices for us in our time upon this earth. Through Jesus Christ our Lord we pray. Amen.