From Mary's Desk
I have asked myself "a thousand times a thousand"..oh! I mean "countless times" ... what is it about spiritual care ministry that has kept me in the field of palliative care for more than twenty years? and led me to want to train others to inhabit this wondrous place of human connection and wisdom whispering?
This musing coupled with experience "The Living Human Document" (Boison) across many years of ministry and teaching stretches and plummets me into the depth of an idea that CPE training awakens, in the CPE intern, a state of grace, suspended in a sense of the sacred ... Such a state can never be evoked. It can only be bestowed - momentary, extraordinary perhaps life changing Marilyn Robinson in her book 'Giliead' (winner of the 2005 Pultzer Prize) elegantly captures this momentary, extraordinary, perhaps life changing event:
"When people come to speak to me, whatever they say, I am struck by a kind of incandescence in them, the 'I' whose predicate can e 'love' or 'fear' or 'want', and whose object can be 'someone' or 'nothing' and it won't really matter, because the loveliness is just in that presence, shaped around 'I' like a flame on a wick, emanating itself in grief and guilt and joy and whatever else... To see this aspect of life is a privilege of the ministry which is seldom mentioned."
Coming across this quote has struck a profound chord as I sit at my desk on this fecund spring day waiting for the acumen of knowing to fly from my fingertips onto the page. it encourages me to continue to experience connection to the "living human document" for its tender humanity and its compassionate wisdom. So what is the touchstone beside which I linger?
Something I entreat, gives me an echo of the other
It is in this reverberation that I know what went before
Measured against experience of the now
I am gathered into the essence of an elsewhere
The source lingers
a guru approaches
Trust your knowledge
I pause for the story, the mythical, the mystical
There I am shown The Source
The other inspires that in me
Mary Waterford Summer 2016