It is always starting again!
Last week I returned from a wonderful week-long conference in Sydney and then came down with a bad case of the flu. So now I am back on campus and trying to get balanced for the last few weeks of the semester.
Except for the beginning of the flu, the conference was wonderful. Some good presentations, a lot of useful ideas and networking, provocative conversations, and lots of laughter.
Chaplains are an interesting group. I think that each of us comes to the ministry with certain gifts and scars, and are not too sure which is which. We are usually found on the edge of the institution, and carry a critical attitude about some of the cultural accretions found within our various faith communities. But we are also people who seem to have room in their lives and work to value mystery as the primary thing: to keep an open heart to the amazing fact that people exist, live, breathe, make love, find work, write papers, survive mistakes, start again, simply renew. We are people who seem to have an ongoing and open-eyed appreciation of the mystery of being human, and see that as the main gift from God. We might disagree about how the God who gives the gift might be seen, understood, explained, responded to; but the fact that we are - each and every one of us - some kind of holy mystery that needs to be witnessed, honoured, encouraged, endured; that's the most important thing.
The best chaplains are probably better at making love than making sense; and I think that's all for the good.
It is good to be back at work.