This morning was my second 'dog collar' activity this week, as I was visiting the care home where I offer very part time chaplaincy. The nature of the place is that I seldom see people more than once, but there are few I am slowly starting to know.
What struck me this morning, as I prayed with a free presbystrian-cum-pentecostal, an Italian Roman Catholic, and assorted others in between, was that every one of them reached out and took my hand. In an age when we hear so much about unwanted and inappropriate touch, when we are, rightly, cautious and aware of misunderstanding, it is the more precious when someone reaches out a hand seeking the comfort of your own.
It also struck me, as I walked home, that I really ought to take with me a supply of holding crosses and rosary beads which can be offered to those who would find comfort in them (and I also need to re-learn the rosary prayers so I can do them with the Catholics)
I find this chaplaincy role challenging, not my natural 'thing' at all, yet for all that, there are the moments, precious moments, when it feels that maybe what I am, and what I offer, is enough. The dying person, the angry person, the fearful person, the lonely person... all reaching out, and all finding some comfort in the holding of hands. Hmmm...