Yesterday I had a long day of orientation. I was dreading the last 3 hours labeled on our schedule as Sexual Misconduct Training. It ended up actually being way more interesting, it had to do with setting appropriate boundaries for clergy and counselors. Since I was sitting in a room full of future clergy, counselors and professors it made sense.
Our conversation side tracked to how the call to ministry effects many already existing relationships in our lives. Someone raised their hand and asked about family relationships and not accepting the journey that we are on and the hurt that comes from it. She started crying and apologizing. My heart broke for her. Then the most beautiful thing I have seen humans do in a while happened. A few girls brought her tissues. Then at the same time two more walked over and just stood with her as she let it out. Our dean answered the question so compassionately. He made sure to take care of her in that moment. I saw the most compassionate eyes looking at her. I guess that shouldn't have been surprising as we are all preparing to enter "helping" professions. I noticed that a few other students started crying quietly in their seats. I just had to blank stare as to not loose it myself. Then someone piped up can we pray, can we just pray right now. So our leader led us in the most beautiful prayer for all those upset and all of us on this journey. Well I think nearly everyone lost it. Even yours truly who acts like a dude when it comes to crying shed a few tears.
Then we took a little break and I heard so many people saying things that I was feeling. I am so glad that someone was brave enough to put it out there. I didn't even realize how much I was feeling it until I heard someone else say it. We talked a bit about family relationships strained. Friendships lost. It was both beautiful and draining.
You know I learned so much from that moment. In my ever going struggle with being ok with crying in front of people I saw someone who was very brave. I learned that my classmates are full of compassion. I learned that I am not alone. I learned that this place is a place where we can say what we feel and have it respected.
We talked a lot about how being ordained "sets you apart". Then it was out there, it is often a very lonely place. I was somewhat sad because I realized... it is going to continue to be a lonely place.
Today I am grateful for what I experienced yesterday on so many levels.
May you be blessed in finding a place where it is safe to bring with you all the things that make you whole.