Of Service? Compliment-ary Service!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Thursday, October 16, 2014

Holy Spirit, descending dove

Of Service? Compliment-ary Service!

Spiritual gifts. All believers in God are supposed to have at least one. I have several. At least, several have been identified in me, by spiritual elders and people of faith I respect a great deal. Spiritual gifts shown in my actions, speech, and thought-life, anyway.

I know I’ve mentioned before how I have the gifts of encouragement and helping. Upon reflection at the end of the day, I realized I used encouragement several times during the day. Without even giving it a second thought. I gave compliments to several people. Sincere compliments, not just slathering it on. I really try my hardest to be real, sincere, and genuine, as much as possible. And, I appreciate it when people are the same way with me.

The small children who attend the preschool at my church are so refreshing. They could not be dishonest or disingenuous for the world. Small children have such sincerity and honesty, and say exactly what they think and mean. As I read to them this past Tuesday, I spoke in an encouraging manner. I read two books with superb illustrations to them, and several of the children got quite involved in the stories. They started to interact with me as I read, and I dealt with each comment (actually, interruption) in a kind, encouraging way. I didn’t want to halt the reading, since there were a group of children listening to the stories. But that didn’t stop me from being kind and sincere—briefly.

Sadly, with adults, it doesn’t work quite the same way. A few others may be insincere or wear false faces around me. They may even try to pull the wool over my eyes. True, I try to think the best of most people; that is one of my blind spots. Just because I strive to be rigorously honest doesn’t mean that everyone else acts (or thinks) in the same way. But, I still attempt to act as if that were the case. Just so, I often try to treat others as if they are acting and speaking (and thinking) in good faith. Sometimes I get burned. But, usually not. That won’t stop me from acting in this way, and treating others as if they all behave in a similar, genuine manner.

So, yeah. I gave several individuals sincere, honest compliments today. I know that I did the helpful, loving thing. Another day being kind, in A Year of Being Kind. I know that God was pleased, too.


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Be Helpful? A Lesson from Chaplain Internship—and More

A Year of Being Kind blog – Saturday, September 27, 2014

heart balloons

Be Helpful? A Lesson from Chaplain Internship—and More

I feel strongly about chaplaincy. One of the foundation stones for my whole ministry is that of pastoral care, ministry of presence, and journeying alongside of those who are hurting in any way. I have spent more than ten years in the ministry of chaplaincy, in a variety of settings. And, I’ve spent a goodly portion of these years serving in internships, as well.

Today, I was vividly reminded of a situation where I needed some advice. Some discernment. I couldn’t help but be reminded of several times in the past, in my various chaplain internships. I have been blessed in my internships, in three different clinical settings. All three have involved cohesive, collaborative groups of interns. I understand from others that not every group is so fortunate. So, I do consider myself blessed by the groups. In addition, I was blessed even more with my chaplain supervisors! Each one, though different from each other, was effective, supportive, and engaging to the interns separately, as well as in the group.

I thought of a specific instance in my latest chaplain internship unit, at a downtown hospital in Chicago. Chaplain Peter was our supervisor, and he directed and facilitated the group with a light hand. Yet—he was present. Very present to all of us. To each of us. He led by compassionate, loving example, and I learned to take cautions and negative comments as well as positive ones, contain them, prayerfully consider them, and seriously and objectively take them to heart.

Not that I hadn’t had some experience and direction at how to take correction as well as compliments before, in chaplaincy, in various internships, and just in life, in general. But with Chaplain Peter, both the clinical and the classroom learning seemed upped to a graduate level and beyond. Serious learning! No kindergarten-level learning there.

My mind drew a direct parallel between that learning experience and a situation today. I got a long distance telephone call out of the clear blue sky, and even when I hung up, I was in a quandary. Really, earnestly puzzled at what to do. I wondered and thought and prayed. Still needed assistance and advice. I turned to a Facebook page where a number of women ministers, clergy, chaplains and other women of faith join together in support, camaraderie and fellowship. (This is an international group, too!) I have been following this page for some months, and I noted the wide-ranging and varied comments were often helpful, sometimes pointed, and always informative.

All right, I thought. I am really in a quandary. So—I posted a brief explanation of the telephone call. I asked for comments, suggestions, even advice. And, boy! Did I get a response! In a matter of minutes, I received so many helpful, informative comments and suggestions.

I was suddenly, vividly reminded of what I learned, sitting in that chaplain’s classroom in downtown Chicago. I was moved to take these current cautions and comments as well as positive ones, contain them, prayerfully consider them, and seriously and objectively take them to heart. Just so, God tied these two situations together in my mind. What a moving connection. Thanks, God. Help me take these comments and suggestions I received tonight to heart, sincerely. As sincerely as these were offered.


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