For Good

Sr. Wantabee is having to do reading for her chaplaincy program. She finished The Healing Connection which is a sociological approach to counseling focusing on connections, disconnections, and the relational images or rules that frame our interactions – excellent even if a feminist. Now she is on to Forgiveness for Good by Dr. Fred Luskin of Stanford. It too is an excellent book talking about all our pet grumps, grievances, and wounds as planes circling our control tower and taking up too much air space in our minds. Something goes wrong, we take it personally, we blame that for other things in our lives and then create a grievance story. Sadly true and she stands convicted. We all have little rules about how we think life ought to work and when it doesn’t work the way we think it should, we have problems. Some rules we have no power to enforce.
Can Sr. Wantabee develop a habit of forgiveness? She had an opportunity yesterday to try it out. She was in a patient’s room chatting away and getting ready to pray and leave as she had to be at class. As the husband and wife started to bow their heads, the wife said, “Oh, here’s our pastor.” and indeed there was the visitation pastor, looking all spiff, seniorly and male. Sr. Wantabee immediately deferred to his relationship with the family and started to scoot on her way. He graciously, declined and asked Sr. Wantabee to pray which she did. As the wife reached for Sr. Wantabee’s hand, she heard the male voice start to boom forth with the closing prayer.
Immediately the doubts rose. I’m a woman and not good enough. My prayer was insufficient. I’m outclassed. As she wrestled with herself all the way to the elevator, well, actually all the way to the car, she had to reflect. Was he intending to insult me personally? Of course not. He doesn’t even know me. Does he have the right to pray? Of course. Are two prayers ok? Of course. Is he a male chauvinist? On what basis would I say that? Was my prayer honest, genuine and a reflection of how I understand reality? Yes. It is not within my power to control who prays. Prayer is good. I was true to myself and my God. Move on.

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