A Surprise Post-Election Gift!

The Chair by Rev. Hadley Kifner, M.Div., BCC

A Surprise Post-Election Gift!

Whatever your political affiliation, elections can be anxiety-producing.  They certainly are for me.

So imagine my surprise and pleasure at opening my email and finding an unexpected gift … a space for peace … something that dropped my shoulders by inches.

I didn’t know Rev. Hadley Kifner, M.Div., BCC but through the mysterious and wonderful ways of friends sharing emails, she sent me this lovely gift on a day when I needed it most.  And, it is a gift that keeps on giving!

Helen McNeal

Senior Advisor to the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab




By Rev. Hadley Kifner

Dear All,

 I greet you with grace and peace…

 …And an invitation to sit for a bit this morning.
Some days, this day, the spirit needs space and silence and stillness.

There is a chair for you below.

This chair is safe, protected, surrounded by nature’s embrace and beauty.
It is shaded by green hand-like leaves, willow branches, and fresh ferns.
As you sit, you may feel only a cool breeze blow across your face,

like a gentle breath of peace.
You may smell damp earth, leftover ash, or pine.

No one will bother, interrupt, distract, judge, or laugh at you;

no one will try to convince you of anything while you sit in this chair.

This chair welcomes all.

Even though it looks not too large, this chair is sturdy enough

to bear all that you have for it to hold.
It’s underbeams are reinforced with a mysterious grace

capable of absorbing your stress, anxiety, worry, and fear.

It’s overhead arch enfolds you, holding you still,

showering you with insight and contentment.

It’s backrest steadies you, grounding you

with a strong sense of clarity and courage.

When you sit down, let all that needs to flow out of you go–

Release all that is holding you back, keeping you down.

Liberate yourself in this way, making room for light and goodness

to fill you from within and overflow all around.

Birds sing good morning to you and the clouds keep watch.

The leaves beneath your feet shall firm up,

giving you solid ground to walk upon when you are ready.

And the autumn dew shall fall upon your head of hair,

cleansing your spirit and refreshing your mind.

Sit in your chair and stay for as long as you like.

Do not rush, even linger if you can.

While you sit, take a few breaths and relax.

Absorb what you can, release what you must.
Let this chair offer you healing and wholeness

This day, and ahead. And then again.

If you know of someone who may need to sit for a spell in this chair,

Send them this photo and these words and share the invitation.

Rev. Hadley Kifner, M.Div., BCC

THE CHAIR - BY Rev. Hadley Kifner large
Photo taken with my iPhone at the NC Botanical Gardens, Chapel Hill, NC



This gift, which I shared with friends and now adorns my desk, came as a Spiritual Sustenance email.  Inspired by the need for spiritual encouragement and community connection during the COVID-19 pandemic, Hadley, who is a pediatric chaplain with the University of North Carolina Health Care System, sends out Spiritual Sustenance emails 2-3 times a week.

Her aim is to “offer balm, name brokenness, invite joy, claim truth, recognize beauty, and inspire compassion.”  She pulls content from various traditions, cultures, belief systems, and art forms.

At a time when so many of us need to find ways to be resilient and reduce our levels of anxiety and stress, let me recommend not only Sitting in the Chair above but also seeking out the balm of Spiritual Sustenance.

If you would like to join the Spiritual Sustenance list serve, please contact Rev. Hadley Kifner at Hadley.Kifner@unchealth.unc.edu


Helen McNeal

Senior Advisor to the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab