Yesterday, I was Lyfting - it was Pride weekend in San Francisco and very busy - everyone was happy in the chaos of that City-wide party... or happily trying to avoid it. I helped them with rides to do both . We had a lot of great conversations - for which Lyft is known. I have been a Lyft driver for more than a year (the pink mustache peer to peer 'taxi' app & service.) The flexibility of this Lyft 'job' has allowed me to cash flow a new life i.e. go to Interfaith seminary at the Chaplaincy Institute in Berkeley and cash flow a six month (unpaid) hospital Internship. Lyft are good people and they attract the same with the power of that funny pink mustache on their cars.
I picked up a young doctor - he had just gotten a new job at Kaiser and he was very excited about the possibility of the work-life balance that it offered. He was an OBGYN. We started talking about health care and, as a chaplain will do, about the emotional and spiritual aspects to healing.
He had worked with a Chaplain before at San Francisco General Hospital - a Catholic priest.
(Note: about synchronicity and being a Lyft Driver - that was the SECOND ride that day that SPECIFICALLY mentioned that Catholic priest. What are the chances? Anybody know what his name is?)
Back to my story, I told him about my first memorial service as a Chaplain - it was my 2nd "On Call" in a hospital in San Francisco where I did my internship. It was a still birth - otherwise known in hospital language as a 'fetal demise." ( I think the term is a mental trick to try and distance ourselves from the horror - in order to continue functioning for the living.)
As an Interfaith Chaplain I was taught to honor ALL faith traditions and support them. When they completed their terrible labors of the night, it was a privilege for me to create a small blessing ceremony in their hospital room to begin the healing process.
That is 5,000 years and several worlds of difference. It was a real Interfaith challenge. They were pleased enough to ask me to do a the memorial service several weeks later, when they could not find someone who would honor BOTH their traditions. I wrote one that did with their input and review.
I told the Doctor (the one in my car) about the opening and ending lines of that memorial service...and he teared up - right there in my car...because he knew.
My point here is not hubris, but that I am grateful to be here. I can use all I am in this new life, and really help people in the tenderest human valleys of their lives because I am listening to something much deeper in mine - to the love and not the fear. I am slowing down to listen to the "still small voice within." I am stepping out with faith (heart) even though I don't "know"(head) how to do the next moment.
I said in my ordination speech that I dedicated myself to be a "midwife to the moment" which will take the rest of my life to do...one moment at a time.
on a Chaplain's life