The health and well-being of our patients, residents and team members is our number one priority. Despite many of the counties in which we operate beginning to re-open, per the Departments of Health, Concordia is still operating under a no visitation policy, except for patients/residents in end-of-life situations. However, those wishing to see their loved ones can schedule time with them at one of our safe visitation areas. Please call your loved one's facility for more information. For information regarding Concordia’s coronavirus precautions and cases, please click here. We have also began publishing regular video devotions from our Chaplains. To take a look, click here to visit our Mission & Ministry page.

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Call to Care: Wishing Hurts Away - Don't you wish!

November 5, 2013

Today's post is from Concordia Chaplain Rev. Roger Nuerge and is part nine of the "Call to Care" series. Concordia's Chaplaincy Department actively contributes to our residents' well being.

How does one relate to those who are suffering? Dr. Kenneth Haugk in his book "Don't sing songs to a Heavy Heart" says that the very strong desire to help another person, which motivates us tremendously in our caring, sometimes gets in the way of relating effectively. Here is a list of some goals you might want to achieve when relating to someone who is suffering. You might want to help the person:

Rev. Roger Nuerge Rev. Roger Nuerge

1. Get better

2. Accept his or her situation

3. See the hopeful side of the situation

4. Make healthy choices

5. Maintain good relations with relatives and friends

6. Feel close to God

7. Develop stronger faith

8. Inspire others by his or her Christian response to pain and suffering

These are great goals, but suffering people hardly ever achieve any one of them as a result of another person mapping out a particular path for them. In fact, the best way to ensure that suffering people don't get to a spiritual or emotional good place is to impose your thoughts, feelings or beliefs on them in an attempt to help them feel better or "get over it."

What does work, however, is being fully present for them and allowing God to heal while you care. The following are some natural human tendencies that can block effective caring.

The Human Desire to Want to Fix Things

  • The trouble with trying to fix someone else's emotional or spiritual problem quickly usually just covers up his or her pain.
  • Suffering people don't respond well to quick fixes or easy solutions because this short-circuits the normal coping process.
  • It feels easier to give advice or "help" a person to change their situation than to let ourselves be uncomfortable with someone else's pain or suffering. It's often better quietly to sit with someone while they mourn than quickly try to dry their tears.
  • A good rule of thumb is Fix things; relate to people.

Preset Agendas

  • As well-meaning and well thought out your outcome-based plan or agenda might be, the suffering person will know it and will either resist it or will just go along without owning the process and without being helped.
  • One problem with a preplanned agenda it that you become so focused on it that you aren't attentive to the needs of the person you are suppose to be caring for.
  • The problem with wanting a preplanned agenda and following it is that it might be there for our own discomfort rather than for the needs of the suffering person.
  • Your best agenda is not to have one -- except to follow the agenda of the suffering person. Then you are really caring.

Hitting Home Runs

  • When caring for suffering people its not necessary to "hit a home run" in saying or doing the right thing to make the person feel better immediately. Rather the suffering person needs your consistent, caring presence.
  • Its ok to "hit homeruns." The point is "Don't try to hit homeruns." A smooth, consistent approach works best in baseball and in caring. It takes the pressure off you as a care giver and it is more effective for the care receiver.
  • No one can wish hurts away, and no one can take them away. That's God's business. He calls us to walk with hurting people sharing and being Christ's love and compassion. Doing that makes a significant difference in a suffering person's life.

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For more information on the spiritual care services offered at Concordia, visit us on the Web, e-mail here or call 724.352.1571.

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