Conversations that matter
On 21 April 2016, I broke my jaw and my wings were clipped. Not just by the broken jaw, but by a string of unanticipated health events that followed. Today it takes time to attend to my aging body.
So I often wonder what the meaning of my life is now. Why am I here? I know I’m going to die. So what about the meantime, in whatever time I have left on this earth? Is blogging it? I love blogging, but….
A couple of weeks ago I got an email from a friend and former colleague at the seminary. Would I be willing to interview a seminarian working on her MA degree? The answer was Yes! Of course! Big smiles and happiness! A high point in my life!
So this last week I spent time on the phone with her. Lots of time. We didn’t talk about the fine points of my life as a pastor (which I am not). Instead, we talked about the not-so-fine points of my life as a survivor of childhood abuse. Especially what it took in my late 40s to begin the long process of healing while I was professor and then dean at the seminary.
Why was this conversation a high point for me? Because it let me know I still have something to say. Especially, but not only to women and men preparing for ministry in churches, or for leadership in religious organizations.
Blogging about my experience has been and still is part of my healing. Yet nothing beats a one-on-one conversation, or a small group discussion in which I’m able to talk about what it took for me to begin healing.
We’re all dealt cards we didn’t ask for, even before the moment we’re born. Going into a professional position or a new job doesn’t magically make all that disappear. In fact, it often triggers it. Understanding how trauma shaped and still shapes us is worthy of our best efforts. Not alone, but together.
I don’t know how this will play out. Nonetheless, I’m hoping for more informal opportunities in which my personal and professional experiences come together in surprising ways.
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 14 October 2018