Poem · Poetry · Uncategorized

The Heart of It All

 

The hand that grasps and controls

is the same hand

that lets go.

 

The mind that sorts and decides

is the same mind  

that can be opened by mystery

or pain.

 

The eyes that do not really see

but look past,

are the same ones

that can catch the vision

of truth.

 

We are but soft clay

yet we act as if cast in stone –

armored in our ways.

But life is not done shaping us.

Changes always come to

meet us where we are

and show us another way.

 

The time for invocation is here.

So lift up your sad, stiff heart –

mistakenly broken by you alone –

and ask Life to soften it.

For the heart of it all,

it seems,

is to be anchored in softness –

so you can be ready for anything.

Copyright© Cynthia Cady Stanton, 2019

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Uncategorized

A Pastoral Care Glimpse

Yesterday, we had a new patient who I could not get to see easily as I was already scheduled to see patients in a whole different part of our large geographic territory.  She was the matriarch of a very large Cape Verdian family and was 99 years old.  The family had requested Sacrament of the Sick (SOS) for the patient as they were devout Catholics – and so was the patient. I called her daughter who was the Health Care Proxy and offered to set up (SOS) and visit today, the next day, and in the morning to provide presence and comfort.  The daughter was grateful for my assistance and had agreed to the plan.

I arrived today after my morning meeting at ten to find several crying family members leaving the floor.  I went to the the RN and stated, “She died, didn’t she.”  She affirmed my conclusion.  “Did the priest come?”  “No.”  I was so disappointed and surprised as this particular priest is very reliable.  I went to the patient’s room to find many more family members still present – probably 15 to 20.  I found my way to her daughter and introduced myself.  She graciously brought me to  the deceased patient in the hospital bed.  She began telling stories about what a great mom her mother was – a matriarch of the family who never had conflicts with anyone.  “In all her life, I only remember an issue she had with one person.  She was a saint.”  

Meanwhile, family members continued to cry and honor their lost matriarch.  The family presence was intergenerational.  I was impressed by the presence of many young people, along with the elders.  I affirmed the family for their great presence with the patient and let them know that what they just accomplished was hard work….but that they had done a good job sending her on her way.  They had been present for her.  I said to the daughter, “what can I do to be spiritually supportive?”  “Pray,” she said.  “Just pray.”  So, I placed my hand on her mother’s forehead, bowed my head, and gave thanks for her life and love. I prayed for her comfort and peace.  I asked God to hold her in his Everlasting Arms and bring her home.  I asked for comfort to the loving and grieving family.

The daughter expressed gratitude and continued to tell stories of her mother.  Family had gathered more when I was praying.  Funeral plans began to be discussed.  It was clear this was a very spiritual family.  I was feeling badly that no priest had come to bless this beautiful soul.  So I offered a blessing.  “I have water blessed by a priest in Ireland with me.  I can give your mom a blessing, if that would be helpful.”  The family was pleased about this idea.  “Yes,” was the answer.  More gathered around the bedside and I invited the family to participate.  I asked them to place their hands somewhere on the their loved one’s body.  I instructed them that together, we would recite the Lord’s Prayer.  After that, I would make several blessing statements.  After each statement, I invited them to affirm with “Amen.”  I then stated I would close with a blessing with the holy water placed on the loved one’s forehead and give the her a benediction to send her home.  Then we all did just that.

The family continued to cry but they were at peace.  I let them know about our bereavement services and asked if there was anything else I could do for them.  They stated all was well and expressed appreciation for this pastoral support.  I left.  Shortly after I left, the family felt free to disband, more at peace with having honored the death of their loved one.  This is what my pastoral care looks like. It is part triage, part loving presence with a big dose of humility and love.  To include divinity and presence in the process of saying goodbye at end of life is the highest honor and privilege. I am so blessed to have this as my life’s work.  There is nothing better than being there for others when it matters the most and to be able to elevate God’s presence  and make it visible.  Blessed be.

Copyright© Cynthia Cady Stanton, April, 2019

 

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Poem · Poetry · Uncategorized

A Breath That is Free

 

If our moments are forgotten,

did we really live them?

If our thoughts are in charge,

are we present at all?

If our breath is held,

is it really a breath?

I pause with these questions

and my ears open to the hum of my home,

and the song of the birds outside.

My vision is sparked by

the morning light filtering through the trees.

The glow is beautiful.

I notice that as I write,

my posture is hunched,

and I am tight in all the usual places.

I release the usual.

Relaxing and deepening awareness

of my breath,

and my gratitude for it all,

I begin again.

I am present and I live this moment.

Grace and peace find me 

in the movement of my breath.

I am ready for the gift of another day.

Copyright© Cynthia Cady Stanton, 2019

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Poem · Poetry · Uncategorized

Enough Already

 

Don’t worry about the direction

ahead, or the matters of the day.

Simply place your hand

on your own heart

and feel the love there – love 

that was given long ago

that you may have forgotten.

 

Don’t be the person who

allows busyness to run

over your life, squashing it

with good intentions, and

all that learned stupidness which

pulls us away from

this preciousness given.

 

Remember those moments

when God has broken through –

those glimpses when you

knew beyond a doubt that

you are made of the same stuff

as the flowers and trees, and

forever is possible – that 

Love is You, and 

You are Love.

 

Let yourself glow, please.

For those who do, are

born in true freedom.

For in stepping aside from 

the pettiness of all our 

misdirected ways, we can

float like a feather

on the breath of God.

 

Copyright© Cynthia Cady Stanton, 2019

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Poem · Poetry · Uncategorized

Worship

 

Be still my soul

when life gets wacky.

Find the quiet places.

A walk in the woods

with leaves crunchy beneath

could work –

or that comfy chair

next to a sunny window, too.

Perhaps the cat will plop with you,

rendering connection and comfort.

Find your deep breath again

and stretch yourself skyward.

Open your hands

as you open your heart.

Be lifted.

Allow your voice to rise

whether in a whisper, shout,

or song.

 

      Lord, I need you.

      Lord, I love you.

      Lord, I thank you.

Now you can live your moments

in renewed presence

and peace.

Alleluia!

Amen.

Copyright© Cynthia Cady Stanton, 2018

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Poem · Poetry

This Gathering

 

A walk along the shore

would soothe

as would

the vision of you

reaching towards me.

Why can love feel

so elusive?

Your broken places

touch mine

and we are so far apart.

I lift up all the questions,

all the loss –

and present them to the heavens.

My offering is

an act of surrender

and faith.

This gathering of my heart

and the recognition of its movement

brings me to the place

beyond the beyond –

it reminds me 

of my need for God

and what is real.

There is comfort in the lifting, and

I am blessed with

a new lightness of being

which enables movement

foreward.

Copyright© Cynthia Cady Stanton, 2018

 

 

 

 

Poem · Poetry · Uncategorized

When Praying

It starts with stopping

and then a deep breath –

the kind that really fills you,

and reaches to the bottom of things.

When you begin to settle

and peace starts to bloom,

you wait.

There is nothing to say.

It is a time to listen.

The longings will arise

and you simply hold them.

With grace and acceptance,

you lift them –

first to your heart,

and then up in surrender.

It is this gesture,

this gathering of yourself

which connects you to

who you are.

For there is no separation

between you and God.

You are a drop of water

in God’s ocean.

You belong –

and all it takes 

is listening and bowing

to remember this

and be healed

of want and need.

Copyright© Cynthia Cady Stanton, 2018

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