Being Kind While Distracted?

A Year of Being Kind blog –Thursday, March 20, 2014

you are not alone

Being Kind While Distracted?

The last day at my conference for alcohol and drug counselors was today! Yes, there were some fantastic sessions! However, I had a difficult time concentrating.  But more about that, later.

The morning session was on ethics: the ethics of doing what counselors do, the dual relationships that can happen, and what might possibly be the results of those interactions. Dual relationships are a difficult animal! Sure, they happen, from time to time. And especially in parts of rural Illinois. This conference drew people from all over the state, so we had an opportunity to hear things from a wide variety of workplaces and backgrounds.

I enjoyed the afternoon session, too. The two facilitators presented a topic that made a lot of sense, given the kinds of people drug and alcohol counselors usually work with. The topic was on family systems—the way families work. Add some cultural differences and some relationship insights, and stir briskly. Then sprinkle with substance abuse issues, and what do you get? A common problem that people in this field often are forced to deal with. Family issues go far beyond anything that one individual might be dealing with.

Yes, I was interested in both sessions! I happened to sign up ahead of time (when I sent in my conference fee, last month). But there was some additional relationship stuff going on right now. I mean, with me, personally and currently. Or rather, with one of my family members. Since I was at a conference with other counselors, I thought, what a great place to get some advice! I asked two or three of my fellow counselors some general questions: here’s a basic situation, I said. How would you deal with it? What is one starting point? Where do you think you might concentrate?  And I also wanted to know, what was one action plan you might suggest? Since I was and am so close to my family situation, I need all the help I can get.

As I’ve mentioned before, the people at this conference are kind, encouraging, and caring, in all kinds of situations. Just so, in my personal situation, as well. Yes, I was distracted! Yes, it was quite a challenge to keep my mind on the sessions I was sitting in. But thank God, people were kind to me. I reciprocated, to the very best extent I could! I think it is marvelous that I am a part of a professional group that has such loving and caring people as members. I know that many of these people are people of faith, and I was able to connect with a few of them in that area, too. Able to be present with each other.

I also know that God is present with me, even though I am going through a rough time. (And it’s not just my business–it involves several others. If it were just my rough time I am talking about, I would let you know!) I take deep breaths. Say the Serenity Prayer. It’s not just an intellectual understanding, but I also have a deep-down feeling that God is right here, too. Next to me, for real. God is right next to you, too. Believe it.

@chaplaineliza

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Of Breakfast and Being Kind

A Year of Being Kind blog – Wednesday, January 15, 2014

water sunrise

water sunrise

Of Breakfast and Being Kind

I went to a business breakfast this morning. Genial, good conversation. I enjoyed myself a great deal, although I needed to leave a little early. There were ten of us there. Eight men, me, and one other woman. I knew several of the others. The rest were strangers I was glad to meet.

I had known the woman, an acquaintance of mine, for some years. We hadn’t had a chance to reconnect for some time. It was good to sit next to her at the breakfast. We talked about ourselves, our families, and generally caught up with one another. She confided in me, “It’s good to have another woman here to talk to.” It’s not that either of us is at all averse to being with a room full of men. Certainly not! I really enjoy being with the guys. My friend said she often did, too. But this particular morning, she was happy to hang out with and eat breakfast with a fellow woman.

Afterwards, this comment led me to think further. I didn’t purposely decide to be kind to my friend. It just sort of happened. I was the way I usually am, in interaction with people. I am an intuitive, feeling-sort of person. I am aware of (and sometimes absorb) the emotion and attitude of the people I’m around.  I found myself behaving in an open, friendly way at the relaxed breakfast. I engage with others much more easily in this kind of situation!

I was able to share a little about what I do as a chaplain, and as a caregiver. I come alongside of people. Often in traumatic, highly emotional times. I try to contain strong emotion, and be with people in their time of need. But sometimes I can be there for people in more low-key, genial times. Like this morning, having breakfast with my friend.

Thinking about the beginning of Ephesians 4:32 (our verse for the month!), “Be kind, tender-hearted.” This verse encourages all of us to be kind—that is, sweet, amiable, gentle in disposition. Certainly not hasty, short-tempered, or abrasive. Second, we’re also told to be tender-hearted. That means especially compassionate, even if this is not the default way of being for some people. I can be particularly challenged to be this sort of person at all times, to act this way with everyone I meet. (Even though my personal default way of being does tend towards this kind of behavior.)

When I purposed to do 365 days of service, and to write a corresponding blog for each day (thus, A Year of Being Kind), I tried to have as few expectations as possible. I suppose that was so I could wander my way through each day, encountering people and practicing kindness whenever and wherever God wanted. I am only two weeks into the year. Already, I am amazed at how God has chosen to bring kind, helpful things and acts of service my way, each day. God, I wonder what You are going to bring me for tomorrow? I can hardly wait!

@chaplaineliza