Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Origins of a Listener

How I ended up working as a hospice chaplain is still a bit of a mystery to me.

When I let go of my plans to attend law school after college and instead traveled from California to New Jersey to attend a seminary, I had visions of teaching, writing, and headlining speaking tours. One of my favorite authors, Susan Howatch, wrote a book about a Catholic priest called Glamorous Powers, and I was sure that my glamorous powers were wrapped up in the quality, the insight, and the impact of my words. My first job after school landed me behind a pulpit, and everything was going according to plan. I stood up in front of a congregation every Sunday, and I talked real good.

In order to get ordained as a minister, I had to intern as a chaplain at a local hospital. Believe me, I put it off. My gifts were in preaching and teaching; what was the point of me visiting patients in hospital rooms? In other words, I was terrified. I think even then I suspected that the cloak of insight I wore was merely shabby protection from the realities of fragile human life. I am grateful that my glamorous ambitions to ordination prevailed back then because they led me into a season of life that would destroy those ambitions forever.
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To read the full article at Quiet Revolution, and the story gets very interesting, click here!