Friday, August 8, 2014
Hospice Chaplains are instrumental in working with patients who, at the end of their lives, recognize that there are those they need to forgive or who need forgiveness. As I review my own work as a Chaplain, this was a common theme. From seeking forgiveness from family members to seeking forgiveness from a neighbor, these encounters are usually blended with regret and then relief when forgiveness is granted. I came across an inspiring story on sunnyskyz.com written by Joseph J. Mazzella, on August 5, 2014, that highlights the concept of forgiveness, love and faith. The title of the piece is “My Inheritance.” I turned on the television as I made my breakfast this morning. The commentator was going on and on about a family's bitter fight over a dead celebrity's estate. I shook my head and turned off the TV. I went back to my breakfast and ate in silence. I thought of my own inheritance. Mom, Dad, and Nana are all in Heaven now. They didn't leave me any mansions, millions, stock, bonds, planes, or yachts. What they left me was far more valuable. My Nana left me a recipe for homemade spaghetti sauce that fills the stomach and comforts the soul. My Dad left me his short stature and thinning hair so I wouldn't take my appearance too seriously. My Mom left me her slightly crooked chin, unique smile, and love of laughter. My Nana left me her hugs and kisses and the desire to share them often. My Dad left me his silent strength in the face of trouble so I could grow better during the hard times of life. My Mom left me her love of reading and the encouragement to write as well. All three of them gave me the gift of forgiveness when I messed up. They gave me their love and support to become who I wanted to be. They gave me a love of animals, an awe of nature, a reverence for life, and an appreciation of family. They all showed me too a courage and faith when facing death. They left me all this and so much more. A thousand books couldn't contain it all. That is my inheritance and I wouldn't trade it for a hundred billion dollars. My Mom, Dad, and Nana also helped me to open my heart to an even greater inheritance, the inheritance that our Heavenly Father gives us all. We are all born with a heart made for loving, a soul built for kindness, and a mind designed for goodness. We are all called to share this inheritance too with everyone everywhere. God loves us all. We are all His Children. We are heirs to Heaven and we are here to bring Heaven to Earth. May we all do so. Perhaps you have a story from you hospice chaplaincy that highlights forgiveness, love, and faith. We would all love to hear it.