questionsBeing a chaplain and a wireless consultant have more in common than one may think.

What does offering emotional and spiritual support to persons with a life threatening illness have in common with providing technical support for cell phone/data device problems?

Asking the right questions are more important than providing the right answers.

As a chaplain, people sometimes expect me to have answers to difficult questions. I’m slowly learning that I can usually be of help more if I ask questions rather than try to have answers.

For instance, I was in a family conference in the ICU unit of the hospital earlier this week with a family member who was faced with making the difficult decision to remove life support from their loved one. I listened as the doctor said to the family member, “I’m sorry, there is nothing else that we can do. Your loved one is not going to make it. He is going to die very soon.”

I asked the family member if he had talked with his loved one about this scenario before this hospitalization. “What would your loved one want if he could speak to you now? What would his answer be?”

There was no hesitation in his voice because they had talked about it in great detail before this hospitalization and ensuing coma. “If he can’t get any better, he said it’s ok to let go. He is at peace with it. He has fought the good fight.”

He had his own answer in what he would do, and later that evening, it was so.

On a lighter side, I was told today about an employee “that was ready to throw her Palm Pilot Phone out the window.” My telecommunications colleague said that this woman has spent more than ten hours on the phone with all types of technical support, but her problem prevailed.

So, I volunteered to go to her office and sit down with her as a tech support guy. “I’m going out of town tomorrow, I’ve got to have this thing working!” she said in frustration.

“Tell me the story of what you’ve already tried,” I said. And she began telling me with great detail all of the things she had done. And there, in the midst of her story, the answer jumped out at me. “May I see your phone?” I asked. Fortunately, it was an easy fix. She cheered and thought I must be so smart. The truth was she gave me the answer.

It was in listening to her story that the answer was revealed.

Asking questions and listening. It sounds so simple.