Grace and Gratitude

Chaplain Wayne Brass

The following vignette was prepared by Chaplain Wayne Brass to be shared by a family member at the memorial service for a patient he had visited numerous times over several months. Names have been changed to honor individual’s privacy.

2 Corinthians 12:9-11

9 [The Lord] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.

During my first visit with Tom I tried to introduce myself as a hospital chaplain but I wasn’t sure that he understood who I was or why I had come to visit. Tom was having a hard time trying to understand what was going on.

When I stopped by a second time I was surprised that he remembered me. This time he had a lot to say but I had a hard time understanding.

The next time I visited he expressed his concern for his wife, Loraine, and his son “Tiny T.” We wrapped up those concerns and some others and offered them in a prayer.

During another visit I was privileged to be with him when his first food tray since surgery was delivered. He shared his excitement. Soon he began to think about rehabilitation with both eager anticipation and some anxiety about the upcoming changes.

Then, when it was time for more intense rehabilitation there were questions about insurance. Tom said he would do rehab one way or another. If need be, he would do it on his own with his family’s support. One of his proudest days was when he reported to me that he had been able to walk without a walker.

Then he had several more difficult days and seemed more tired but tried to remind himself that these feelings would pass.

As his physical condition declined and began to affect his mental outlook I encouraged him to try to focus on the comfort and reassurance of his faith . . . “for whenever I am weak, then I am strong [because the power of Christ dwells in me].

Many times during the course of his stay in the hospital he expressed his overwhelming gratitude for the care he was receiving. And he let it be known that he was determined to demonstrate to “Tiny T” what is possible with faith and determination.

And so today, even as we wipe away our tears, we celebrate and give thanks for that demonstration of grace . . . for power made perfect in weakness . . . and pray that the power of Christ which clearly dwelt in Tom . . . might dwell in us all. Amen.

Wayne Brass, Chaplain



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