There is, however, another category of difficult jobs. It envelopes the various services provided when life is on the line, or has ended. I’m sure God must have a certain kind of gifting for people who do this work.
The Las Vegas rescue workers are a good example. The police and SWAT teams who rush to face life threatening danger are remarkably courageous. Add to those folks the great number of fire and rescue team members who helped save many lives at the scene while bullets were still in the air. And, of course, the hospital staff—some of whom worked while standing in a pool of blood to help desperate victims survive. Wow.
For those who did not survive, there is a another group who have difficult assignments. Morticians, grief counselors, pastors who conduct funerals, and anyone who makes valiant effort in helping bring sense to tragedy. It must take a unique sense of calling and commitment to this work.
This is particularly fresh to me in light of both the Las Vegas news coverage and something much closer to home. We attend a church of around 250. I just came off the church council. The new council president is a fine man. He and his beloved have been raising four great boys.
Earlier last week, the third of those boys was with a friend coming home from a golf tournament. A head-on car crash occurred. The two drivers survived with “non-life-threatening injuries.” The son of our council president…did not. He was 16.
The accident required what the rescue people term “extrication.” Simply defined, it means to free or release from entanglement. It is messy and time consuming. And it must be emotionally draining when these workers know life is truly on the line.
We tend to think these emergency connected workers must be able to somehow put their heroic efforts behind them. Truth is, many lose sleep and find themselves needing counseling from the frequent contact with grim situations. Especially when the rescue efforts involve children.
Then there’s the funeral directors. Who signs up for this kind of job? I reviewed an article on this topic for perspective. It’s titled, “What Personal Qualities Do You Have to Have to Become a Mortician?”
In brief, “Morticians must be effective communicators as well as excellent listeners to deal with people of diverse ages, ethnicities, and beliefs. While it's important to be sympathetic, morticians need to remain emotionally calm in the face of this emotional turmoil, so the family can rely on your emotional strength.” (article link below.)
Some of these critical care jobs require a truly compassionate person. But others require a more dispassionate person—someone “not influenced by strong emotion, and so able to be rational and impartial.”
There were times Jesus of Nazareth appeared to demonstrate both sides of this coin. He wept over his friend Lazarus and grieved deeply. The Bible often says Jesus showed “compassion.” In other cases, he showed restraint and did not act in ways others thought he should. He appeared…dispassionate.
In your world, whatever your job, you might well find situations requiring you to engage with compassion, or to step back and be rational and impartial.
It’s critical we discern how to care properly.
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Let’s Talk with Mark Elfstrand can be heard weekdays from 4-6 PM Central. To listen outside the Chicago area, tune to www.1160hope.com for live streaming or podcasts, or download the AM1160 app.
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