Jump directly to the Content

My Experience as a Trauma Chaplain Helped Me Fight Anxiety

Identifying our fears can better help us pastor ourselves and others better.
My Experience as a Trauma Chaplain Helped Me Fight Anxiety
Image: Illustration by Rick Szuecs / Source images: CiydemImages / Getty / Clément H / Unsplash

I was 24 and a week into marriage when I walked into my first intensive care unit as a trauma chaplain. I had never seen a dead body before. I had never experienced deep grief before. Within two hours of my first day on the job—a 28-hour overnight shift—I was standing in a room with a dozen screaming people. Their mother had suddenly died on the surgery table; the doctor and nurses had just ushered the family into the room to give the news. I showed up about three minutes later to utter mayhem: wailing and flailing, one person hitting her head against the wall in a steady rhythm, another dry heaving into a trashcan. I felt completely detached, like I was watching a scene from a movie. I remember thinking, “At least the doctors and nurses are here, they will know what to do.” But within a minute, they were gone. It was just me and the distraught family. I wonder if they were thinking, “At least the chaplain is here, he will know what to do.”

Over the course ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

September
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
The Changing Focus of Church Finances
The Changing Focus of Church Finances
In our interview with the late Lyle Schaller, he identified ways churches can make wiser financial decisions.
From the Magazine
Police Work Nearly Broke Me
Police Work Nearly Broke Me
I was a narcotics officer on the brink of suicide when God began his mighty healing work.
Editor's Pick
Rebuilding Church Community: What’s Actually Working?
Rebuilding Church Community: What’s Actually Working?
Pastors respond.
close