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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Respect each life journey, even in its brokenness and uncertainty, for each person has walked alone at times.  – Doctrine and Covenants 161:3b

There are times when most of us would prefer to simply be alone.  For some, this is because we are introverted personalities who find the noise of humanity becomes more than we can bear; we need to be alone for a while.  Other people need to be apart in order to seek togetherness with God, as in a period of prayer or meditation.  A “Silent Retreat” has become a regular offering at Ziontario Campgrounds for such people who, while they may not be entirely alone, can escape the noise and tumult of socialization for a day,  two, or even a week.

Another time people may ask to be alone is when they are feeling poorly.  This is not true for everyone.  When under the weather, some people want to be constantly cared for and have their pillows fluffed at regular intervals.  For others, the preference is simply for people to go away and leave them to their misery.

There is a more serious occasion when the desire to be alone manifests itself.  It is not unusual for people who are very very ill to request “no visitors”, or even “no contact.”  Such an appeal can be challenging for friends and fellow congregants, especially those in ministry or on pastoral care teams.  It goes against our training to have people seriously ill and not phone or visit them.  Have we not been taught to express our caring this way?  What should we do?   

Above all, it is important that we honour the person or family’s request.  When someone is so ill that they prefer not to have visitors, we must respect their appeal for privacy.  That does not mean, however, that we must do nothing.  There are many ways we can still express  our caring and loving support. 

The first and most obvious thing we can do is to pray.  No matter what form your prayers may take, whether silent or verbal, in words or pictures, expressed alone or in circles, prayer is always a way to uphold another in love.  Second, almost forgotten by many of us in this age of instant, electronic communication is the old-fashioned art of sending cards.  A card says, “I honour your request but I have not forgotten you.”  Third, even when we cannot call or visit, how about sending a bouquet of flowers or a small plant to communicate our warm thoughts and loving concern?  Might that not be a way to quietly and gently reach out to another while still respecting their request for privacy?

You will probably have thoughts on this subject, and if you do I invite them to click on the comments button and share them with the rest of us.  Many heads may be better than one.  Will you share your wisdom and experience?

Posted by Carman


  1. Carman this is so very important to respect the needs of the person being visited.
    I love to visit people and have them share with me their needs and concerns. Pray with them and leave them in a positive frame of mind.
    However when I myself was in hospital with depression, I relate to being visited.
    I enjoyed seeing people for 10 or 15 minutes at a time and having prayer (except for Karen and my family who could stay as long as the liked.)
    But some others came for 30 to 60 minutes and sometimes in groups this was very hard for me as I was not up to long visits. I respect others wishes evenmore now! By the way Carman your visits were much appreciated during that time!

  2. Larry, Thank you for sharing openly in this way. It is very helpful. Your comments should help people to understand that while their caring is expressed in their coming, their sensitivity to the needs may be expressed best in their leaving.

  3. Sending cards is a caring ministry I have tried to promote in the congregation. Not just for the sick but the lonely too. My mother lives in a retirement residence and it is so sad to see the many forgotten seniors who live there. They wait expectantly for the letter carrier and are crestfallen when there is no mail for them. My sisters and I have made a point of identifying some of these people (with the help of the compassionate staff) and sent them notes ...thinking of you, thanks for opening the door for me when I visited after hours, thanks for the square you knitted for my church project, etc. It takes very little to make their day. Make the effort.

  4. Good idea, Marilyn. Sending cards to people in a retirement home is ministry with no hope of any return on investment, which may be ministry in its purest form.


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