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A CHAPLAIN'S BEST FRIEND
by Pastor Timothy Burdick

Please read this scripture, and then reflect on the following story. I hope that it will motivate you to serve others more.

James 1:26-27 says, "If you claim to be religious but don't control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you."

If you or a loved one has ever faced a crisis, you know just how traumatic it can be. As a hospital Chaplain, one of the many hats that I wear is trying to comfort the grieving. This and many other daily tasks are made easier because of the help of my four legged friend, Ansel. I call him my "C.A." or Chaplain's assistant.

Ansel is my guide dog who doubles as a therapy dog from time to time. So it is not just caring for those in emergencies he helps me with, but since I can't see, he also helps me get around the hospital  in a timely fashion. Despite obstructions in hall ways that he has to guide me around, and construction that may be going on campus Ansel does a great job. He also helps me on my daily rounds.

Having said the above, let me tell you what a typical day for Ansel might be like. Early in the morning, we walk to the hospital which is just about a block away. Say we are doing rounds in the medical center, and I hear a voice over the loud speaker say that there is an emergency in the heart hospital.

I tell Ansel to find the elevator, and when we are at the correct floor, I tell him to find the heart hospital. He shoots out the doors of the elevator, and goes down the long hallway which takes me there.

If I think that Ansel might enhance healing in the situation we are going to, I will  take his harness off when we get there, so that those involved can pet him. Ansel has been trained to equate his harness with work, so this is very important, and for him to guide me correctly, this distinction must be maintained.

On the lighter side, Ansel is the star of the show. Just as a sailor has a girl in every port, Ansel has a girl in every nurse’s station. While I have to be careful that he doesn't eat anything because of his training, one of his favorite times is lunch, and one of his favorite places to go, is the cafeteria.

After a hard day's work, Ansel is ready to punch out. He knows that when work is over and the harness comes off, he can be a regular dog. He just wants his dinner. With a contented sigh after finishing it, Ansel lets me know that there's no place like home.

Thank you for reading this, and May God bless you.

Visit Pastor Timothy at New Vision Ministries website www.mynvm.org

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