Chaplains Linger

Chaplains linger; surgeons don’t.
Physicians say tommy-gun style,
“This, this, this, this, this. Now,
do you have any questions about
that?” backpedalling as they say
okay and are on their way.
Chaplains hover, unobtrusively,
in the background, waiting for
the surgeon to have his or her say
and then asking quietly, or maybe
not given the situation,
“Would you like to pray?”
He remembers a traumatic,
tragic time with medical staff
scurrying around, doing their
jobs in critical care; it is a
reality; time is of the essence there;
but nurses (he supposes out of
a sensitivity to the fear felt there)
lingered briefly while passing through,
but physicians, given his experience,
don’t wish to linger in the scare.
Twenty-two years later, his heart
warms as he thinks of that chaplain
who braved the scare with compassion.
Yesterday, it was just the same,
in a setting of much less psychic,
spiritual and physical pain,
but somewhat frightening just the same.
Technology had changed;
behavior had remained
pretty much the same.
Oh, yes, he gives thanks for
skills to make the necessary
bodily corrections
that would allow for jogging
and other workout sessions;
he is more than happy to
give all the medical staff
their due
with deepest appreciation
for the chaplain who lingered
a while, too.

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