Category Archives: John Davies

Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice We Honor Veteran’s Ceremony at Taylor Community

The We Honor Veteran’s team at Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice recently joined with the Taylor Community to honor those residents that served our country. Veterans from all branches of the United States military were represented. The Hospice Acapella Group, Tides of Harmony sang three wonderful military style songs while Chaplain, John Davies led the group in a prayer. Hospice Director and Chief Clinical Nurse, Jennifer Legassie announced the names of those selfless residents while they were presented with certificates honoring them for their service. A salute from one veteran to another solidified the respect and importance of this special event.  Many of the residents also shared stories from their times of service which filled the room with powerful emotions of pride and gratefulness.  To learn more about our We Honor Veteran’s Program tune in to our blog on July 3rd or the Meredith Bay Colony Club sponsored weekly radio show ‘Aging well’ on WEZS 1350AM.

 

 

“Thank You” to the dedicated Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice Volunteers

Since the Hospice movement was started by volunteers, it is only fitting that Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice celebrate and thank our amazing volunteers who help serve our patients, families and community. On Tuesday, May 23rd, the annual Volunteer Appreciation dinner was held at the Taylor Community, Woodside. Over 50 volunteers along with Volunteer Coordinator, Randy Macdonald; Interim CEO, Christine Long; Chaplain, John Davies and Hospice Director and Chief Clinical Nurse, Jennifer Legassie enjoyed a wonderful dinner along with entertainment and education by bear enthusiast, Ben Kilham.

This event helps the agency honor those amazing people who continue to give of themselves to help those in need. Awards were given for 5, 10 and 15 years of service as well as the “Essential Piece of the Puzzle” award that recognizes the one volunteer who has gone above and beyond by taking on several volunteer roles to help complete the puzzle of patient and family needs. This year the award was presented to Ginny Caple who is on the Bereavement team, the Spiritual Care team as well as the We Honor Veteran’s team.

On Asking the Right Question

I often hear it said that asking the right question is more important than having the right

Hospice, VNA, Spiritual, Bereavement

John Davies
Hospice Chaplin
Central NH VNA & Hospice

answer. That seems to make such sense, but why?

Asking questions of any kind – right ones or wrong ones – is a sign of true wisdom. I’ve heard people start off saying: “This is probably a dumb question, but . . .”. Of course, however, there is no such thing as a dumb question. The dumb part is in not asking the question – in assuming I already know what I need to know (or being embarrassed to reveal I don’t).

Once upon a time, when I was in my first or second year of college, a friend of my parents asked me: “And where do you plan to go to complete your education?” That was his way of asking what my plans were for graduate school. But even then my shock at his question told me that was his way of approaching life very differently from how I had been led to live it. My expectation then that my education would never be completed has been confirmed. These dear companions of curiosity, seeking, learning and asking questions have traveled with me all the way, and my expectation is that they will never leave me – and I hope that proves to be so.

Asking questions is also a sign of true humility. For me it is an affirmation that there is a power, a god, a truth (call it what you will) beyond me that I cannot fully understanding. In my experience the affirmation that “God is love” links arms with the words of “a love that exceeds human understanding.” Together they remind me that the Spirit, the people, the values and the experiences that I love, all that gives meaning to my life, is beyond my mastering or my comprehending. They indeed have mastered me, as I find myself bound to them and held by their enchanting presence in my life.

As I see it the problem with most settled answers is that life keeps changing – the currents of process keeps flowing. Which leads me to believe that what makes a questions a “right” one is that it is open ended. It doesn’t invite a Yes or a No – settling of the matter. Rather, it whets our curiosity, keeps us engaged, with mind and heart open to what is yet to be known. It keeps us alert to what Pastor John Robinson said to those who in 1620 were preparing to sail from England for what we call New England, that: “I am very confident the Lord has more truth and light yet to break forth from His holy word.”

So I am drawn to the sort of questions that rather than inviting us to “settle things,” open our minds and hearts for “more truth and light yet to break forth.” How marvelous to find that life is filled with mystery and with love far more than we can ever understand!

Rev. John Davies, Spiritual Care Chaplain
Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice
Laconia & Wolfeboro Offices

A Time for What Matters

Hospice, VNA, Spiritual, Bereavement

John Davies
Hospice Chaplain
Central NH VNA & Hospice

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said it: “Happiness!  It is useless to seek it elsewhere than in this warmth of human relations.”

I often think of these words as I go about my work as a Hospice Chaplain.  I find that when any of us are approaching our dying we turn our attention to the people who have been important to us.  Surely from the day of our birth and onward it is our time with other people that give meaning and purpose to our lives.  The God I know works to draw us toward one another as brothers and sisters.

Steve had spent almost three decades in the US Navy, and his life following discharge were given meaning for him by those years of service and the friendships he had discovered there.  Over the years dementia appeared to have erased his capacity to speak or in any way recognize familiar people around him.  When I met him, he was drawing near to his closing breath.

As we sat around his bed, members of his family were telling stories they had heard from him so often about his years in the Navy.  I took out the small music player I carry with me, and with that the room was filled with the tunes of “Anchors Away.”  That’s when we saw Steve’s right hand moving, as best it could, toward his head.  When the music concluded, his arm relaxed and a calm smile came to his face.  We looked at one another, moved by the realization that this old Navy man had just given his last, best salute.  Such meaning in those small movements!

Words matter.  Music matters.  But we know also how much it can matter just to have another person with us in quiet attentiveness.

I know that when I meet someone in distress often my first impulse is to say something.  But I also am reminded again and again that there is a time for simply “keeping company,” for being present, for bearing witness.  And do not think that in that we are doing nothing.  Far from it, we are giving one of the most valuable gifts one person can give another: Paying attention.

Some might say that HOME is the place where we go in the evening to tell the stories of our day.  And what better gift to find there than someone to pay attention and to welcome the stories we bring!

In any challenging time of change, I often find myself recalling Saint-Exupéry’s words regarding the “warmth of human relationships,” the work of keeping company with one another “for better and worse, in sickness and in health . . .” and am thus reminded to treasure those who companion with me in the daily course of life.

And what do people do when they are “keeping company” with one another?  They may well tell stories.  We are always creating stories.  While some describe God as the creator of heaven and earth, I think that God is also the creator of stories.

If we hear someone laughing loudly in another room, each of us would come up with a story to explain it – to give it some meaning, correct or not.  While our minds know that we cannot understand what the laugh means until we get more information, our hearts and our souls are busy making up stories about it.

As nature abhors a vacuum, so we may have a hard time with not knowing.  Living with mystery can be a difficult lesson to learn.  We do, indeed, listen for stories to give meaning to our lives.  We tell stories, and we listen to them, in order to discover sense and purpose amid the random events of our days.  God’s Spirit calls to our spirits to discover how those events fit together as part of the eternal story of hurt and healing, of fear and hope, of loss and love, and in it all to affirm what truly matters.

— Rev. John Davies, Chaplain

Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice

About the Author

Rev. John D. M. Davies has served as Chaplain for Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice for almost a decade.  After briefly serving two Presbyterian parishes in rural Ohio, John moved to Brewster, NY, where he served as pastor of the Presbyterian Church for 30 years.  While serving that church, he received his Masters Degree in Pastoral Counseling, becoming trained as a certified pastoral psychotherapist, and for 25 years directed a local counseling center.  In 1996 he left the parish and began 5 years as Chaplain of the local hospice – continuing his clinical practice at the counseling center.  In 2000 he moved to Sandwich, NH.  In addition, he joined the staff of the Plymouth Congregational Church as their Minister of Pastoral Counseling with a limited clinical practice, and for the past 9 years has served as Spiritual Care Chaplain with Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice in Laconia and Wolfeboro, NH.