Monday, September 04, 2006

Gifts in our lives...

I have a somewhat motley collection of friends. I met most of them at church, which is also where I met my husband (I'm still amazed at that!), and we have done many outings together. Formal outings organized as part of the church group that I am in, and informal ones too, such as hanging out at PNE or playing blitz. (The girls and I haven't done this for a while. I will have to organize a get-together or at least brunch to visit since the move ...)
I first came to Vancouver in November 2002 and joined in activities at my church pretty much right away. That is just how I am. I was a member of an organizer/leadership team for the social group that we have for our age group, but dropped out earlier this summer. With the wedding, becoming the secretary for the executive board of CAPPE BC, and starting my next level of certification, I decided that this year I really would scale down my extra activities. I have said that I would but this time I dropped from the leadership team. Partially because I was frustrated by the politics of the team as well. As you may know from social theory on groups, that the more people and characters you add to a group, the harder it may be to communicate effectively.

character roles : joker, rule-keeper, sloppy, defiant, worrier, peacemaker, self-pityer, apathetic, clever, devious, hypocritical, sports player, uncertain, outgoing, impatient, generous

When you have too many of the different characters, it can get messy.

The thing is that my husband is still in the leadership group and it is hard not to jump in with my traditional organizational skills and my desire to be invovled. The question is .. what is the point of a group? or activity? Some people are good at planning for the long-term (I am not one of these people) a go with the flow type person. This can be like at work. In the hospital, we spend our time focused on the one goal: helping our patients to be healthy, have good quality of life and all that. We do this from our perspectives/or bubbles. Hence, everyone has a different idea of what the end result should look like.

Physio, dieticians, nurses, medical teams, pharmacists, and spiritual care all have their own way of looking at the situation and even though we use the same terminology about care, we may have very different meanings about how the "work" should be done. This is the frustration as there are many voices to listen to and depending on who yells the loudest, that is what the team will follow and some people are left feeling that they are shut out or given very little opportunity to demonstrate what they can offer to the patient.

Let me get back to what I was saying about my friends. I met most of them at church. Some I am closer to than others, some come and go, but in the end, they have given me a wonderful gift. I am "Kathryn" to them, not "Reverend", not "Chaplain", but just Kathryn. I am allowed to be myself when I am there... I am thought of or introduced as "This is Kathryn. Oh yeah, she works at the hospital as a chaplain." The fact that I am ordained as clergy, to which they all witnessed in October past is not really a big deal to them. I was not ordained when they met me, and I am not their chaplain. Not expected to have an official role with them. This is something that came about because of who they are, but also because I worked at it. I was training at a different school and when certain people in the area found out "where I was from", I was classiifed as "one of those". I did not want that here in this new city/province. And it has worked out well. While my church has ordained me, they set me "aside" to the work of chaplaincy. I am not required to "do work" in the church for them, but I will offer what I can. They free me to attend and give as I am able and to be fed by the Spirit, and fed socially. There are those in my church who give me special treatment because of my role, but not as many as if I had been living where I grew up. This is very freeing. It is a part of the psalmist statement "Be still and know that I am God" A lesson that I have struggled to learn. To be instead of to do. It is very hard in this society at times, due to expectations, but also due to personal expectations as well. A gift that many are not able to embrace.

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