I’m just a nurse. Opening appropriate conversations, and supporting other people through their processes of health, health decline, dying and death is a part of my day-to-day reality, both on and off the job.
Whatever my personal beliefs are, I’m expected to be professional, to be present for others, even if I personally disagree with their lifestyle, to have knowledge and to develop and show some level of empathy for what my patients, colleagues, and clients are going through.
Recently, I attended a funeral/memorial service for a friend. As people, we all have different ideas, responses, and triggers. Events like these are never easy for many people, and some choose to avoid them all together. Comfort can be found, for some, in gathering, sharing memories, pictures, songs, food, seeing friends, family, and new people. Certainly, some of us choose to find comfort in our faith. Others of us, find comfort in our reason, our different beliefs, and our lack of faith. I, personally, find it difficult and challenging, when an over-zealous preacher/evangelist uses the occasion of having a trapped audience to proselytize to, with their specific doctrines of whatever hell, heaven, salvation, gods, and/or mythologies they subscribe to.
Perhaps some sensitivity for all present, and a simple invitation or statement of, “This person was a member of … believed … and it was important to them. If you’d like more information, please come ask later, or check out our website,” would be better than, “There is only one way to heaven, to see this person who died, again. Everyone else on the planet is wrong, and if you want to see this person when you die then you’d believe what I do …” Really.
There are ways to share our beliefs, or lack of beliefs, that are appropriate, and sometimes, even appreciated. There are other ways, where I just murmur, under my breath, “For God’s sake, please, just knock it off.”