All I remember from that winter is the waiting room. Like in a campground, the clumps of waiting room people staked out their own areas to help them survive the day and night ahead, with bags and bundles and containers of food, sleeping bags and pillows. Most stared at the muted TV filled up with images of people whose family members weren't sick, flickering fast-moving grinning figures, all dressed up, clean, and busy with lives outside a hospital. No one in the waiting room even remembers that life anymore.
The couple nearest the west windows spoke softly to one another in Spanish, and then the man seemed to sleep with a ball cap low over his eyes, but she inexorably knitted, and as I sat down and greeted her in my limited Southern drawl Spanish, I could hear the long steady clack-clack of needles and sliding thread. Buenos... I said, "Being in here makes for a long, hard day." "Asi es," she replied. "That's it." When she spoke, her eyes turned toward me. "But," she added with a small smile, "When there's nothing to do but wait, you can always wait."
In Christian tradition, that is what this season of Advent means, and what the winter solstice time invites the Earth and all to do-- to prepare, to wait for it... whatever "it" may be in this day, this season, this winter solstice about to be. And we are people waiting. Waiting for the computer to boot up, the light to change, the news to be better, the grades to be posted, the grief to abate, the pain to let up, the child to hurry and get ready for school, the baby to be born, the test results to come back, the darkness to abate, the air to warm up, the family to be reconciled, the happy news to become public, waiting…for death, for life, for the next right thing to happen for her, for him, for the suffering poor, for us.
And for those of us who disdain the waiting, rarely plagued by procrastination, reveling in our overachievements and determined to be ahead of the game, winter solstice/Advent waiting seems like a waste of time. "Of course," I say, back to her, thoughtfully. "I can always wait." But God knows, I'd rather not.
Which is why, I suspect, this time of year, of preparation, of solstice, of light appearing out of darkness, is so blessed a gift. When there is nothing, and even when there is something we can do, perhaps the most enlightened thing we may choose to do sometimes is to wait.
The sweet ancient stories of Advent, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Diwali and the even more ancient traditions of the winter solstice remind me of what is primally true for all of us--that Earth knows in her silent wisdom... that there is need for fallow time, the time of long darkness, as we prepare for, incubate the beginnings of what-is-to-come. The ancient practitioners of Judaism and many other religions too used the word "incubation" to describe intentional waiting. Incubation was the spiritual practice of going intentionally into the holy worship place and lying down to sleep in the darkness, waiting for the Holy One to make special visitation, to reveal what-is-not-yet. "To Incubate" literally means, "to lie down upon and to cover warmly," and has the sense of a patient, clucking, feathery hen, brooding, as Genesis says Creator did over the formless void of chaos. Spirit waiting, incubating creation. When there is nothing to do but wait, you can always incubate, feathers spread.
And wait in hope, says Isaiah the prophet-- Wait in hope, for the Holy One is incubating a specific gift that returns and returns and yet and still, in so many ways, is out there unfulfilled, and we long for its coming--and that gift is peace. The Holy One is preparing to bear-- in the creation, in you, in me, the ways of peace. The Mystery is waiting, working, brooding over creation, growing the gift-- Peace on earth, good will for all. May it be so.
Rev. Dr. Shelly Wilson
United Church of Gainesville
Preparing for 2015: Mind, Body and Spirit
Marion DePuit, MSN, RN, Faith Community Nurse
HMA Director for Program Leadership
2015 is on the horizon and with it comes opportunities and growth. On New Year’s Day, many people announce their plans for the year for life changes and evaluation of current practices.
I start the year out with a review of three areas: my faith walk, health, and financial management.
My local congregation sets aside the first weekend of a new year to join in fasting, prayer, and spiritual reflection. It is during this week that as a corporate body we assess gifts and talents while as individuals we seek Gods guidance for our faith walk. During this time, I make my annual health appointments with the goal of completing all tests prior to February, my birth month.
As I wait for documents needed to prepare my income taxes, I collect items needed for this process. Collecting and categorizing these documents allows me to review my expenses, expenditures and investments prior to my tax appointment. This review helps me plan my budget for the year.
An area often overlooked is emergency preparedness. In January, the American Red Cross recommends assessment of your emergency preparedness plan. The “Be Red Cross Ready-Get a Kit, Make a Plan, Be Informed” module provides detailed instruction on preparing a survival kit for emergencies. To see this information visit their Be Red Cross Ready Module.
Your local American Red Cross can also assist your congregation with information for preparing for emergencies or disaster in your area. For additional resources on preparedness, health and safety training and additional links, visit the ”Quick Resources” tab at the top of the web page above – Be Red Cross Ready!
We all know it is not “IF” an emergency or disaster will happen it is “WHEN”. Taking the time to prepare by learning about the risk in your area, developing a plan and making an emergency kit will be time well spent. This action plan is one health ministers and faith community nurses can encourage their congregations to use both individually and collectively. Our Tools Page has additional tools to assist you.
2015 HMA Annual Conference…
The Journey to Wholeness:
August 30th, September 1 & 2nd, 2015
New Orleans, LA
Plans are currently underway for the 2015 HMA Conference. You are invited to join the Conference Planning Committee. This 3-day event will consist of a series of keynote speakers, breakout sessions and poster presentations based upon the concepts of: Response...Resilience...Rituals...Recovery.
Potential Conference Planning Subcommittees
Conference PR & Marketing
Schedule and logistics Coordination
Continuing Education Coordination
Spiritual Wellness Activities
Workshop/Poster Presentation Coordination
If you are interested in assisting with one of these subcommittees, please contact the HMA Office, (800) 723-4291.
Use of the Abbreviation FCN in
Position Titles and Signatures
Alyson Breisch, RN, MSN
Faith Community Nurse
Director for Practice and Education
HMA is reminding members that FCN is an abbreviation and does not denote a credential. Registered nurses in the specialty of faith community nursing should remove the abbreviation FCN after their name in a signature or in their position title.
Remember to check and revise your designation in places that could be overlooked such as the signature box of your email settings, title pages of PowerPoint presentations and your title on your institution's website. It is appropriate to spell out “Faith Community Nurse” under the nurse’s name. An example of a signature would be:
Nancy Nurse, MS, BSN, RN
Faith Community Nurse
The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) denotes board certification with the initials RN-BC following a nurse’s name. This is the correct designation for RNs achieving faith community nursing certification by portfolio. An example of a signature for a nurse with certification in faith community nursing would be:
Nancy Nurse, MS, BSN, RN-BC
Faith Community Nurse
Parent Survival Kit...Learn the 3 P's of Parenting
By Jennifer Stanton R.N., BSN, IBCLC, RLC
Family and Community Educator
Norton Healthcare Office of Church and Health Ministries
Parenting is one of the most important jobs in the world, yet it requires no education. Teachers, nurses and lawyers are required to earn educational degrees and pass licensure exams. With parenting, people rely on examples set by their parents, babysitting experiences, parenting books and the media.
Parental education can increase a child's chance for a happy, healthy and enjoyable life. To help parents be better prepared for their critical roles, we have developed a Parent Survival Kit that focuses on the 3 P's of parenting: participation, presence and praise. The kit includes a DVD with information about child developmental milestones and how to facilitate self-esteem in children, as well as how children communicate from infancy through adolescence. These are vital concepts to understand, because if parents know what to expect, they may be less likely to become frustrated by behavior that may be age appropriate.
The kit contains handouts and visual aids about typical challenges such as temper tantrums, potty training, crying, sibling rivalry and more. The visual aids provide explanations about the importance of listening, keeping watch, knowing children’s friends, allowing growth and independence, trusting instincts and molding character.
We used many websites to gather scientific information to offer best practices and would be glad to share them with faith communities that are interested in building their own Parenting Survival Kit. We believe in the saying "it takes a village" and want to be part of the village that protects children.
Call the Norton Healthcare Office of Church and Health Ministries at (502) 629-2700 for more information.
Also In This Issue:
Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence: National Vigil & Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath
December 11 -14, the Washington National Cathedral & all across the country
PLEDGE: Adding your congregation is easy - click here
Office on Women's Health - FREE one hour health data trainings! Use the Quick Health Data Online direct link, then click Free Training Available to register. See available dates and trainings below:
Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014 2:00- 3:00 pm ET Basic training
Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014 1:00 – 2:00 pm ET Focus on mapping
Office on Women's Health - National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness DayMarch10, 2015! To commemorate this momentous occasion, the Office on Women’s Health is inviting women and girls, as well as health care providers, who are living with or affected by HIV/AIDS to talk about their experiences and views on the importance of care and treatment. Stories may be shared on our website or through social media. Here is how to get involved:
Email your personal story or a link to a YouTube video (three minutes or less) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Use the subject line “NWGHAAD Voices.” OWH may contact you for additional information. You can remain anonymous or submit a story using a different name. Stories or videos can be in English or Spanish.
Send this email to others who might be interested in participating.
For more information visit their website.
Mount Sinai School of Medicine: International Exchange Program for Minority Students. See more information.