actively crafting the learning you wished you'd had
as i head into the end of my time in an interfaith chaplaincy program, many opportunities have come up, in my own contemplative moments, on thursday nights with my intimate class cohort, and on weekends in larger program-wide events, for reflection on what the whole process has meant--what it's given us, how we've grown, what edges we've pushed and explored, what skills and abilities we have identified or expanded, what vows we've made and how we've shown up for them, and what doors we have just now, here at the end of the process, begun to open.
i shared with the student body group recently that one of my most profound realizations about the program has been the fact that these skills--the skills of reflective presence, supportive space holding, and non-judgmental compassionate presence for humans who need an ear--are so deeply and fundamentally necessary to all of us as humans. true, thoughtful skill at chaplaincy-style listening isn't something that i should be coming to as a learner for the first time in my 40 years alive.
it's something I should have learned in grade school amongst all the "listening skills" activities that tended only to focus on data recall. it's something i should have learned in college, as a support to the transition into "away from home" adulthood and the world of peer supported decision-making. it's something i should have learned in midwifery school, where the focus is always so heavily on "what to suggest" for complaints and how to manage care, rather than how to *also sometimes* just hold people through what they're experiencing and take them deeper into their own self-knowledge and exploration.