Recognizing Presence

Mark 10:15-16

“What is the best part of your job?”

I was so glad she asked me that question. Most of the time when I tell people I’m a chaplain in a children’s hospital, they respond with a tilted head, a furrowed brow, and a deep sigh: “Oh, that must be a really hard job.”

Well sure, there are difficult days. But there are also amazing days full of hope and healing. Every day I get to see parents and caregivers fiercely love and advocate for the least of these. It’s an honor to stand with them.

I gave my interviewer a slight smile and told her a secret. You might think I’m a little off, I told her, but something incredible happens when I visit my littlest patients. They look up at me with a knowing smile. Sometimes they laugh as they lock their eyes on mine. Their parents will often comment, “That’s the first time she’s smiled since she got here!” or “He hasn’t laughed in days!” The babies and I just grin because we know something their parents don’t, or have forgotten. Their child’s smile has nothing to do with me.

Call it calm, or peace, or God, but the best part of my job is when a child recognizes the One that came into the room with me. To me, it is the purest form of the work I do. I am a vessel, and it gives me chills to realize what a gift that is.

Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it (v. 15). The kingdom of God is all around us, able to be received in countless moments. But sadly, too many of us have stopped looking. Oh, that we still had the eyes of children, wide open to the Holy in the ordinary, everyday moments of life.


Describe an everyday moment when you knew you were standing in God’s presence. What would it take for moments like that to happen more often?


Was that you today, God, or was it my mind playing tricks on me? I think you’re around me more than I realize. I want to see you. Amen.

This post originally appeared in Volume 28.2 of Reflections.

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