By: Judith Terrameo OSF
Every Thursday I do chaplain ministry at the Neighborhood Center, a clinic for the poor operated by Mount St. Mary's Hospital, in the center of Niagara Falls, NY. The clinic services about 75-80 clients a day. I spend time in the waiting room, visiting with clients who are waiting for their medical appointments. I am often amazed at how open and honest people are with me in the sharing of their life stories.
Recently, the first client I had an opportunity to speak with had her life altered within a matter of minutes when a drunken driver T-boned her car at an intersection. It took nearly 45 minutes to get her out of the car. She had numerous broken bones and a head injury. The client (54-years-old) mentioned that she had numerous surgeries and had to learn how to walk and talk again. She still has difficulty with memory and recall, as well as an inability to walk without the use of a cane or walker. When asked how she managed to work through this difficult time in her life, the client noted, "God was with me." She told me that it was her faith that got her through this difficult time in her life, and God who continues to give her the strength that she needs each day of her life now.
Later that same day I had the opportunity to meet another client who underwent a similar life-altering event when he collapsed under a heavy beam he was lifting at his work place. His back snapped, leaving him debilitated. This client (in his mid-60's) felt that God abandoned him; that God had punished him; that God had no concern for him.
As I pondered these two visits later that evening, I had a deep sense of sadness for the gentleman who felt that God had abandoned him. I wondered, how does one assist another in discovering faith amidst their doubt?
I often pray that my way of being with another in his/her struggle can help them come to a place of belief and faith in God because of my acceptance of them and my compassionate presence will help.