“I wonder as I wander…..” This fragment of an Appalachian folk song would become a Christmas carol. I heard this song again this year and it reminded me of an important lesson a hospital chaplain once taught me. “What do you say when people say they wonder why all this has happened?” he asked me. I stumbled but had no answer. He continued, “They seem to be wandering in a wilderness. They may seem lost and they wonder why. You need to be out there with them, wandering too and naturally you will wonder. At least they’re not alone.”
He then sang this song “I wonder as I wander out under the sky.”
Sometimes people talk about the power of presence. I believe in the power of presence and have seen how this can often shore up an unstable situation. Often there are no answers to the “why” questions, but it doesn’t mean that our souls don’t cry out for and demand an answer. As healthcare professionals, we don’t like to say we don’t know the answer to a question, and we get ourselves into trouble when we try to answer the unanswerable.
Best to admit the limits of what we know and volunteer to go with them and wonder as they wander; to be present.
“I wonder as I wander”