The face of a soul; a chaplain’s dairy!
I believe that the soul has a face, a face that knows no tribe neither culture, a face that is neither white nor chocolate neither black nor red; A face that is beautiful; a beauty beyond all expressions.
The face of every soul carries a smile along; the events of this life can carry a lot of pain and bring the heart into times of great grief and despair. At times the heart forgets love and the soul forgets peace, we are faced with challenges and then treated into a universal philosophical cliché, “Life is unfair.” Yet we forget that every soul has a face! A face that is able to radiate a lot of love and peace to its beholder.
I have just met my rest at the end of the day; tired I walk into the house. At last, I will get to have a great chat with my friend rest. I have waited for this time since morning; I wonder what this time with rest will be for me. The last time I remember taking a meal was… was it the ten o’clock tea that they brought when I was meeting these relatives of the patient who has been at the ICU for the last two weeks? The doctor called his condition, a cerebrovascular disease… (hope I did not miss on the spellings let alone the fact that I could not understand what this scary word meant)
I remember the deceased man’s wife. I remember how she wept; I felt the pain with her as she screamed her pain out. The son to the departed man held the sister in his hands; he could not hold the tears anymore. He and the sisters sank into a harmony of pain; I now remember, this is what I took for ten o’clock tea. It wasn’t anything sumptuous, but all along, I had a great appetite for it, to share in their song of pain, to sink with them into the depths of this calamity and just hoping that at the end of the day, they can find their smiling souls back. I did my best; I only listened and held them; I shared in their pain and did my best to understand. And they accepted this mysterious gift of pain. Just at this time, reality walked into the room; and I left.
I left, in a smile; I met rest outside the conference room. And here he was ready to deliver a great message from my folks. I really wanted to hear how mum was doing, if my father had come back from the clan meeting held at MbuiNzau. I wanted to hear if my brother had found his missing goats and one bull. I wanted to have lunch with rest and so I made an order for his choicest delicacy… then a knock at the door interrupted my moment of chat with rest! A man with a keenly focused eye on mine walked in and asked, “Pastor, can I have a moment with you.”? Sure, I answered, take a seat next to my friend, rest. “I need your full attention,” he replied, “Could your friend step outside for a while? It’s just for a short while.”
This man narrated to me how his daughter has travelled to many hospitals without success. He shared with me that he is a Christian, but life has been so unfair to him. Because he is a clinician himself, he understands that his daughter has wiry chances of making it through but he is all alone. He feels as if God has left them to struggle alone. His wife left him since the daughter was eight years of age. “It’s been nineteen lonely years Pastor,” He said, “and I have raised this child alone. I have been her father and mother. She is all I have left. And soon, she will be no more. I am fed up with God.” I wanted to help him to weep; I was almost breaking down with him! This old man has gone through a lot in this short life. I looked into his eyes and so how wrinkled the face of his soul looked… I wondered how I would make him more radiant again. I wondered what would bring back the smile on this face of his soul. For almost two hours, I spend listening to him empty his disappointments in life. Then we walked into the ward a made a prayer for the daughter together. This was the most rejuvenating experience for the day; she gave her life to Christ. This man had never imagined that his child would at any time give her life to God. He said that he always kept threatening her about hell and how it would be if she is not saved; but this time, in the sight of God’s love for her, she gave her heart to Him. It is at this that this man changes his perspective about God. And I looked again into his eyes, I saw the once wrinkled face of the soul now smiling and full of anticipation… it was time to leave; He had found his smiling soul so I left.
As I went past the theatre, I found a lad so troubled. In my estimation, he was in his early twenties. I moved close and requested him to share his grief with me; He told me that His mother was in the theatre; she was going through a surgery. He said the name of the surgery was too hard for him to remember but he wrote it somewhere. I wanted so much to share God’s love for both him and the mother and so I requested that we share a bench at the waiting area. He was ripe for harvest, in less than five minutes; he crossed over from death into life. I prayed with him and gave him my contacts. I realized that his pastor was a classmate with me in seminary; he was going to be a man that I would follow up easily, I thought to myself. I left the waiting area after a tête-à-tête with this lad and was convinced that God had put together a beautiful day for me through all this mysterious events.
As I walked out of the waiting bay, I realized that darkness was arriving and I was running late for a bible study happening at the basement. I really wanted to hear God’s word, I needed to be refreshed. I went down to the basement and there were colleagues with great refreshing testimonies over how God has dealt with them through the week. I looked at them and all of them were filled with great hope. Certainly they all had their own issues weighing them down but God’s love still stood out for them. It stood out for them on greater heights than the pain they felt. They were determined to focus on God regardless of the pains of life. I knew this was a team that I needed so much; what a refreshing time this was for me.
It was around eight in the evening when I left for my house. I felt drained and tired, but encouraged and very satisfied. I had no debt left for the day; I called my good friend and soon enough, there he was, ready to walk me home. Ready to share with me about the too much I wanted to know. On the way we bought some sukuma wiki, and half a piece of onion and a piece of meat cut into small pieces just to make sure that we can cook really fast and get to eat as we share.
Within no time, dinner is ready, and so we get to seat, and we pray. I serve a generous portion thinking to myself, did I even get to eat though the day? Do I remember if I got time to eat? Then as I sat down to fetch my first helping, and Rest starts to deliver his message from my people, the phone rings again! The lady we prayed for wants to talk to a pastor. I am the one on call; I will go see her; I may be her last hope for her to hear that God loves and cares about her… I will get to meet my friend later; my night for rest just became a day to someone else; and yes, I love what I do; I seek for the face of the soul, and point it to the source of its radiance. I seek for the broken soul and point it to a God who is able to fix its shape. I believe that the soul has a face, a face that knows no tribe neither culture, a face that is neither white nor chocolate neither black nor red; A face that is beautiful; a beauty beyond all expressions; a sight so wonderful for me.
Written by Pastor Benjamin Mutuku: Staff Chaplain