Friday, April 10, 2015

chaplaincy series: Living human document

When I first entered seminary, I was astounded by the infinite deepness and richness of biblical texts. The construction of these texts was humbling and infinitely complex. I loved looking in my Greek Bible, because it had notations that indicated thousands of manuscript fragments that compose the greater whole.  It was in this way that I fell in love with scripture.

These days, I am working with a different kind of scripture, the living human document. I am humbled by the richness of the fragments of experience that make up the "texts" of my patients. My patients are infinitely complex.

In spending time walking alongside my patients, I get to have a glimpse into reading the many books and chapters that compose them.  It is also with this view of the living human document that the understanding that our patients have things to teach us emerges.  There is no predictable trajectory of grief or loss or trauma or spiritual angst. There are assessments that I can make, based on what I observe and hear, but there are no diagnoses in chaplaincy. There are certainly themes and commonalities, but every person is a new story.

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