Being Seen

Making my way across the parking lot to the North Campus, an avalanche of thoughts and feelings collided in my head. As I walked, my eyes were focused on the space immediately in front of my feet, but my thoughts were elsewhere. Suddenly I became aware of someone heading toward me. I looked up and spotted Bridget moving quickly and with purpose, as she usually does.

“How are you doing?” she asked as she approached.

I paused to assess, because I find it extremely difficult to just say “fine” without some reflection.

“Better,” I finally answered. “The weekend helped me move toward ‘better.’”

“Weekends are good for that,” she added, and we passed and continued on our courses.

About 40 minutes later, I was at my desk in my office when Bridget stopped by. After an initial greeting, she sat on the arm of the large chair. This action told me she wasn’t planning to stay long, but neither was she going to hurry off.

“When you responded with ‘better’ this morning, I wondered if there might be more going on,” she said. “I also wondered, who cares about the chaplain, and I just wanted to stop by and follow up.”

At that moment I felt a warm surge of care and compassion. I felt validated and recognized. Even though Bridget was pressed with the concerns of her own existence, when she sensed a need, she took the time to reach out to me, to listen and to see me. This is the most important work we do at Simi Valley Hospital.

by Chaplain Ron Hyrchuk

August 2, 2007