I’ve been out and about doing research interviews with care home staff, exploring what ‘spiritual care’ means to them. It’s been a privilege to enter into those worlds with all their challenges and delights, and I’m very grateful to those of you who have given me the time and space to discuss your thoughts.
‘Spiritual care’ is as always a bit of a nebulous concept. Here’s what the NHS have to say about it, in their marvellous publication, ‘Reflections of Life: Words of Comfort and Encouragement‘ (NHS Education for Scotland 2011):
Dealing with illness, injury, undergoing clinical investigations or potentially life changing events and losses may stimulate a range of feelings, questions and thoughts within us. Perhaps some of these may be experienced for the first time in our lives with such intensity and immediacy … spiritual need is part of what it is to be human.
Many of us will be thinking about Lent and wondering whether or how this season might help us with our own feelings, questions and thoughts. Yesterday I was going to a meeting and grabbed a cake for my hostess – remembering en route that ‘salted caramel with chocolate and coffee’ is hardly a traditional Lenten offering. However Sue very kindly pointed out that often nowadays we are being invited to consider adding something to our daily lives rather than giving something up – something that will focus us more clearly on our deepest callings, and perhaps also help someone else. So we ate the cake guilt-free! Thank you Sue! In my defence I have to say that the cake I took was a much more modest version than the one in this chocolate torte recipe.
Here’s an evening prayer from the book mentioned above, by Ewan Kelly. Ewan has kindly given us permission to reproduce this. Maybe it’ll be helpful for you as you feel your way forward through the slings and arrows of life, in Lent and beyond:
Prayer of Awareness
Settle in a chair you feel comfortable in.
Take a few deep breaths.
Ask God to shed light on your day.
Slowly recall the day allowing the moments which you enjoyed or were
life enhancing to emerge. Pause over these times.
Ask God to show you the events, the people, the moods, the feelings,
the circumstances which were enlivening and for which you would like
to give thanks. And give thanks.
Again slowly recall the day, looking for those moments which were difficult,
when you felt not at your best. What is being revealed here?
Ask God for help or perhaps for forgiveness to deal with what has come up.
How does tomorrow seem to you?
Ask for God’s help and entrust yourself to God’s love and care.
Thank you again Ewan, and our good wishes to you in your new job.