Last night I started a new volunteer ministry:  I’m now an occassional on call chaplain for Kaiser in South Sacramento.  This means that on certain Thursdays (I specified I was available Thursdays so that, if called, I could sleep in on my day off Friday morning) I turn on my pager at 7 PM and leave it on until 7 AM.  If the pager rings, I go in to help with whatever pastoral situation wanted my presence.

I’ve got a friend who’s been doing this for months.  He’s never been called.  But I knew, at some point, I would be called.  Guess what?  I was called about 1:30 AM my very first night!  That means I had the better part of two hours sleep, which is actually a good thing — it was enough to be a bit fresher.

A young woman in labor had lost her baby.  What a terrible thing.  She was there with her parents and they wanted some prayer and a chance to talk a little about what happened.  How could God let something like this happen?  I had to tell them there was no completely satifying answer.  We explored some thoughts.  But we knew we were experiencing a real tragedy, however it might be explained.

I think they all took some comfort from my presence and the prayers.  So it feels like time well spent.  Then I had to go home and try to deal with the paperwork.  That felt less like time well spent, but I understand why it needs to be done.

I’ve been in touch with the regular chaplain, and I know he’s on this.  So they are all in good hands.  His, and God’s.