LOS ANGELES – They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. Well that couldn’t be truer in today’s coronavirus pandemic era. Reverend Peggy Kelley, the lead Christian Chaplain at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles says the required masking of patients and staff is giving her a new way to connect with the patients that she serves, and it’s all in the eyes.
“It’s a very interesting time to be a Chaplain because you are in a mask as of now. And so it’s very much about your eyes, and just connecting with your eyes with people. And it’s really quite profoundly intimate,” Kelley said.
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As she utilizes the power of eye contact to let patients and families know she is there to support them on the journey of healing, she says the influx of COVID-19 patients has sparked a new spiritual outlook. Usually patients are anxiously requesting prayers for peace and their own physical healing, but these days, perspectives are shifting.
“What I’m seeing now is when I say ‘What do you want to pray for?’ They want to pray for you, they want to pray for me, they want to pray for the doctors, they want to pray for the world. Now it has opened up into this amazing longing for the whole world to be touched by peace, and God, and grace,” she explained.
“When you look for God in the middle of suffering and pain, you find him. You find God. You find grace, you find spirit. And I say that as across the board of all faiths,” Kelley said, when asked how she herself keeps the peace, while dealing with some often very heavy circumstances each day at the hospital.
She says she has seen all faiths come together in unity like never before.
“It’s amazing to me, the relationships being built right now,” Kelley said.
And building they continue to do: mind, body, and spirit.