|When I first looked at the ULC Seminary and came across the Chaplaincy Program I knew immediately that the Chaplaincy Program is where I wanted to begin.|
I have been emerging from my own hell this past year, as much of the world is still struggling to do as well it seems, and as I emerged I found my vocation of living a profound contemplative and reclusive life had changed to one more…outwardly. While I am still recovering from my own travails I am also feeling myself pulled towards working with individuals and small groups; mostly hospices and end of life situations but also with troubled teens of which seems to be a growing and serious problem and one to which I can, like I can with end of life situations, relate to.
This first lesson speaks of Chaplains once being the "keepers of sacred relics." This has a two-fold responsibility implied for me. The first is the absolute knowledge of that which is and within all beings, that which is eternal and infinite, the star, the burning ember, the flame, the spark; how precious it is, this pearl. Yet, as "Keepers of this Knowledge", we are like those who hold the keys to the most sacred, the inner sanctuary, those who never enter and never let anyone else enter; that there is the tendency for us to become like dogs guarding the feed that don't eat nor do they let the livestock eat.
As chaplains, I feel it is important to free ourselves and to free those in transition, whatever that is for the person we are working and counseling with and despite any judgments I may have about the person or their beliefs. This would be much easier if we were working with people of like minds and faith. But it is made all the more difficult (and exciting and rewarding) by the fact that as chaplains we absolutely must be able to see and work with the beauty of each individuals bouquet of beliefs. This may be especially so when working with troubled teens. This all means, as this lesson points out, we must also be people of great tolerance. I.e. it would take a lot, a real lot, for me to work with someone from the extreme Christian right, or for that matter any extremist. I pray I can be that person of complete loving tolerance, I know I will struggle to be that person, a person who can leave his judgments at the door.
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