Every Thursday afternoon, patients have the opportunity to participate in a new activity called “Psalms & Scribbles.”
Lizzie, a Christ House Chaplain who facilitates the group, explains, “These men have a lot on their minds and, for most of them, spirituality is an important part of the healing process.”
The group meets in the sun room, a bright and accessible nook that overlooks the front patio. Using the passages that will be read in church on Sunday, they take turns reading out loud so that the scripture is heard at least three times. As they read, they can underline words that speak to them, write notes, draw, or just scribble.
After each reading, patients are invited to share their thoughts about the passage. Often times, they identify with the feelings, experiences, and conclusions of the author. They sometimes raise questions about the verses’ meaning or implications.
After a reading of Psalms 135:18 (“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth”), one patient shared his experience of losing two children. It was the first time he was able to talk about it so openly, he said. He explained that since he’s been at Christ House, he’s learning that God hears his prayers.
Because struggle, loneliness, and shame are common themes in our patients’ lives, reading a book of the Bible that addresses hardship honestly is therapeutic. The conversation surrounding the readings has often turned to the reality, often forgotten and new for some, that God’s steadfast love is not quenched by our actions.
Lizzie shares, “Outside of ‘Psalms & Scribbles,’ our patients are impacted by the love and care that they receive from the staff and community. They notice it. It changes them. They see the love of God vividly through our words and actions.”