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Why I Do What I Do...

It’s natural for people try to keep an emotional distance between them and the bad things in life, but as a Fire Chaplain I’ve seen some pretty awful things first-hand. I have been present with families at the worst time of their lives. Countless times I have given family members notice that their loved one has died, and sometimes died in the most horrific way. So, when I was working for a local fire department I would regularly get asked about this part of my job as the department chaplain: “How can you do what you do?” The simple answer is, “That is where I see God.” I see God meeting people in the death/grief process, so that is where I go. Let me explain. It’s a holy moment. In the moment of life/death I see the one who has created us all. Life and death are truly in His hands. What a person has done with the life that God has given them between their first and last breaths and how they got to this point is something I may not see, but I see this holy moment where they meet their Creator. This is a time that God has especially for each of us, His creation, and it is sacred and holy. It’s a time of grief. For the family, this is usually a time of intense grief, especially during the holidays. They have lost their loved one. I have found that everyone handles this time a little differently, but most would agree that they would rather have their loved one back. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Jesus, the one who knew the greatest grief, says that He meets people in their deepest grief and walks with them. In Psalm 23 God says He is with us while we walk through the valley. It is my privilege as a chaplain to affirm (verbally or by my presence) that God cares for and is with those who grieve. It’s a time for life. Fortunately, though, grief is not the end of the story. As a crisis response chaplain, I don’t usually get to walk through the entire grief process. But I do get to plant that seed of life, life seen not only in the power of the resurrection but also in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring hope and life to our life here on earth. Death is not the end. Life will go on. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the believer finds hope and ultimately resiliency. Chaplain Chris Wade

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