by Rev. Lynn Brown-Conklin
Pastoral Care Week is celebrating its 27th anniversary next week. Each year, during the week of Oct. 21-27, pastoral care givers, chaplains, and family and marriage counselors are recognized for "joining together to empower, express and educate," according to the Pastoral Care Week organization website.
So many times, people feel invisible, dismissed, worthless and unappreciated. A simple "thank you," "you're doing a great job," "you look great today," or "thank you for finding that vein on the first stick," is all that is needed to help someone regain his or her confidence.
Giving voice is providing a nurturing to a withered soul that, though beaten down or laying fallow like a seed in the parched earth, bursts into life and sprouts with a drop of water, like a bird whose thirst is quenched is free to fly to the heights.
That powerful representation, quoted from the organization's website, shows how chaplains give a voice to each patient, family member, and staff member they meet.
My story of finding voice came during seminary school and later as a student in clinical pastoral education. Having strong, faith-based mentors challenged me to recognize a voice "crying in the wilderness." That voice was my own silent one that was yet to be discovered. Once the seed was planted and nurtured, I was able to empower others to find their own voice.
Giving voice is giving new life to a voice that has been silenced or never spoken. Giving voice is not speaking for others. It's allowing others to speak for themselves, with strength, courage and authority.
Editor's note: For more information on the Pastoral Care Services offered at MUSC or to meet the staf, visit http://www.muschealth.com/pastoralcare/.